Sunday, January 18, 2009

Then, now and later

My grandmother complains that it is impossible to actually know what is going on in my life by reading my blog. That's probably because I told her that this is my blog. Nonetheless, I thought it might be a good idea to post a quick update not clouded by mercurial and enigmatic retelling of walks through Wales' capital city.

For better or worse, my penultimate semester has well and truly passed. "Penultimate" is a word that they use quite a lot in Britain -- sometimes I think it is used solely for the purpose of being able to use the word. A bit like "fortnight," or "echdoe" in Welsh (meaning "the day before yesterday").

If I am honest, I'm not immensely happy with how things turned out. As you might guess from a person who posts 4,000-word wander-babble on his blog, my disposition over the last months hasn't been the sort that is usually classed as "sunny." The knock-on effect has been a tendency to not at all care about the long-dead and unheard-of-just-15-miles-to-the-east (a) writers and poets and traditions to which I have unwittingly dedicated my life. So, it was only at the last minute that I really put forth effort in order to write essays and prepare for examinations. The preparation was so last-minute that I very seriously feared it would not come together. Perhaps the poor soul who eventually ends up reading my mad diagram-enhanced missive on DJ Williams would suggest that things did not, in fact, really ever come together.

But as my grandmother would almost certainly point out, there is little point in lamenting the past because it has passed. In a week, my final semester of university will start up and I am intent on making it worthwhile. I am so very, very close to having an utterly useless degree I can almost taste it. The joy is palpable.

In the meantime I have begun working with my editor on cleaning up Cwrw Am Ddim, my Welsh-language book. Assuming that all goes well, the book is slotted for publishing in late April or early May.

Also this week I plan to apply to do an MA at Cardiff University. I am hoping to be accepted into the School of Welsh's somewhat clandestine Welsh-language creative-writing programme. The fact that it is so furtive (I challenge you to find information about it on the school's website) is part of what appeals to me, I think. That and the fact that there is possibility of the school digging up several thousand pounds to assist me in attending.

"Serious" isn't really the word I'd like to use, but I am getting more and more (word goes here) about being a proper author. I always have been serious about wanting to be an author but there are a lot of little things that I find myself now doing, such as plotting how, when and why exactly I want to do things.

I am working on a second Welsh-language book at the moment that I would like ideally to enter to be judged in the much-maligned-by-me Eisteddfod. Is it hypocritical to knock something and then cosy up to it in hopes of winning £5,000? Perhaps. I don't care.

But if I were to follow through on such a plan, it wouldn't see the light of day until summer 2010. More immediately I am writing a collection of micro fiction pieces for this summer's Eisteddfod, an event which, ideally, I won't even be at. Currently the plan is for me and Llŷr (still keen, old chap?) to be travelling the United States at that time. Recently Curly has also expressed interest in coming along. Hitherto I have extended open invitations to Curly, Annie and Owen to join us on all or some of this little adventure, each time without bothering to clear it with Llŷr first. I'm not really setting myself out as the ideal travel companion, am I? But I think it would be horrible/wonderful if somehow I find myself amid a travelling Welsh circus, each of us madly trying to connect to some unspoken American thing.

It probably won't be at all that exciting. I'll be lucky if even one person ends up coming along. All I really know is that I do plan to be in the U.S. next summer and that I will at some point insist on Eric and Kristin treating me to long beer-filled nights and heart-clogging breakfasts at the cabin.

Suddenly a song belongs here...
'Shhh' - Atmosphere

Tying up all of the above is something I've been thinking about a lot lately -- something Eric commented in November.

"I always imagine the point where you say, 'I've had enough of this Welsh business, now that I finished university I'm moving back to Minnesota,'" he wrote. "You've left but I've always assumed you were going to come back some day."

I'll admit to feeling that myself. I am driving everything toward rooting in Wales but a part of me gets sick and miserable in admitting any kind of permanence to my detachment from friends and family back in the Land of 10,000 Lakes.

But then Rachel last week came up with the why-didn't-I-think-of-that brilliant idea of buying a cabin in Minnesota and my splitting some time between the two places. I could spend a month or two in Minnesota, pestering friends and family but still writing, and then returning to Cardiff once I've worn out my recent batch of stories as to why Britain is better.

It's more than a little idealistic. But what's life without the pursuit of ridiculous dreams? Isn't that what landed me here in the first place?

(a) That would be 15 miles due east, across the Severn.


Annie said...

Brilliant idea. I'll get a cabin in Wyoming and do the same thing but backwards. We can meet for pints on Thursdays in Iowa.

Anonymous said...

I am working on a second Welsh-language book at the moment that I would like ideally to enter to be judged in the much-aligned-by-me Eisteddfod. Is it hypocritical to knock something and then cosy up to it in hopes of winning £5,000? Perhaps. I don't care.

Been reading your writings for a while.

You'd be good for the Eisteddfod.

Freudian typo?

Anonymous said...

Don't you mean "much-maligned"?

Is the University also going to provide you thousands of pounds for purchasing a cabin in Minnesota? That would truly be excellent.

And if so, I'll tell my uncle. He needs some funds for renovating the cabana at Kabekona.

Chris Cope said...

You are right, Sara. But Carl's suggestion that it was a Freudian typo made me not change it until now.