Monday, July 13, 2009

My island of rain, bitches

Dude, it's mid July. How did that happen? This was supposed to be the Summer of Clothes Making. Or, well, in my case it was supposed to be the Summer of Writing Lots of Shit Down. But somehow whole swathes of this blessed season have burned away with very little of it having been recorded for posterity.

Yet.

Someday, though, I will tell you the story of my life-changing trip to the United States, and all the stories within. You will laugh and cry and disown me.

For the moment, though, I am focused on a story already written. My book, Cwrw am Ddim: A Rhesymau Eraill Dros Ddysgu'r Iaith(a) is now available for pre-order through Amazon, Waterstones and Gwales. Please buy one if you speak Welsh.

If you don't speak Welsh, please don't feel an obligation to purchase several hundred pages of illegible mess. As I was travelling around these past few months, a few of my friends said they planned to buy the book just so they could have it on their shelves. I appreciate that sentiment, but, you know, that money could be spent on beer. As Brendan Brehan famously noted, Guinness makes you drunk. But books you can't read do little for you. Except perhaps postpone the inevitable burning of the Bible for warmth once the revolution comes.

Still, even though you can't read it (b), I am pretty excited about the whole thing. I get to put that word, Writer, next to my name and not feel that I'm stretching the truth. Chris Cope, writer. Put it on my tombstone.

And as a result of the book I get to do all sorts of writer-type things like get interviewed by newspapers and have people talk to me at literary festivals. This Sunday, 19 July, I will be in conversation with Nici Beech at the Gwyl ARALL literary, art and music festival in Caernarfon. I'm not sure what we'll be conversing about, exactly. Nor when exactly we'll be conversing (either 14:30 or 16:00 -- I've seen both times listed). But I'm looking forward to it. I'll let you know more as soon as I know more.

One of the beautiful things about Welsh life is that we tend to throw this sort of shit together at the last minute. The nation's arts community acts as if it were in an old Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney film: "Hey, let's put on a show! My cousin Timmy will build us a stage, we can use Mom's old drapes for curtains and Uncle Ron can run the lights. Sure, he's only got one arm, but his heart's in the right place!"

I've got to say I missed that. I missed Wales and all its quirks while I was on the road. The Old City, especially. If you use the metaphor of life as a bare-knuckle street fight, Cardiff feels like that swarm of supporters which envelope a fighter when he's been knocked back on his heels. They block out the challenger and give their man that much more time to breathe, to gain his strength, and to remember who he is before stepping forward to swing again in outrageous hope.

I am glad to be back in my corner of what Dani calls my "island of rain." Glad to be back home.

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*I added "bitches" to the post title just for Lia, who may or may not be reading. Apparently she thought it was funny that I do that and I am shamelessly trying to get in her good books

(a) "Free Beer and Other Reasons to Learn Welsh"

(b) A handful of people have asked if I plan to translate the book into English at some point. The answer is no, for two main reasons:
1) I'm not sure I like the insinuation that the book is not legitimate unless it's in English.
2) It contains a handful of criticisms of Welsh-language society which I think are best kept "in house". I'm not trying to give ammunition to critics of the language.

6 comments:

Afe said...

The cover art is cool. Unfortunately that is as far as I will get reading your book, but I will assume it is fabulous.

Dani said...

This makes me smile. You did good...I never had a doubt.

And Lia will like your verbiage and linkage.

Your Island of Rain, Homeland, The Great State of Texas, and Our City should beam with pride.

Lia said...

I do like to say "bitches." But you're still gonna have to keep trying. Bitch.

Sionned said...

Hmm. Um, Sunday next is actually the 19th, Chris. Right?

Owen Hansen said...

Congratulations. Can't read it but, as Afe said, the cover art makes one want to. I hope you have a hell of a good time with the whole process, interviews or whatever you do.

Anonymous said...

a great achievement, though I think you shouldn't equate an innocent desire to read the thing with a slur on Welsh language literature. Translation - it's all good (Dante, Tolstoy, Balzac &co all partial to a bit of it...)

Cate