Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Back home...

I'm back from Estrella War, tired and happy and with most of the camping gear still to unpack -- and I don't even know who won! Possibly the mud -- Thursday and Friday were very wet and chilly, and large parts of the camp and the campers were adobe brown by the weekend. I got some good performance time in, though, and have lots of ideas for new stories. I saw a lot of good friends, too, from around the Known World. Attendance was over 6500 according to the website -- not bad for a February camping event in the Arizona desert.

I'm too tired now to be coherent -- more by and by.


Sunday, February 10, 2008

Where do stories start?

Looking back along my life, I can see several times and places where the seeds were sown that ultimately merged into Storyteller. One of the earliest was planted by my grandfather, who used to tell us bedtime stories: an old man telling about things that happened when he was a boy. Not the great elaborate tales that Gwernin tells, but stories nontheless. That is a seed with very deep roots indeed.

Another seed was planted on an October day when I was fourteen, when my high school Latin teacher brought in a book to show us, a book which had recently won a Carnegie award. It was about a young man in Roman Britain – at the end of Roman Britain – a time and place which was new and exotic to me. The book was The Lantern Bearers by Rosemary Sutcliff. I read it, and went on to read – and re-read down the years - everything else I could find by her. Most of her books are for young adults or children, but the best are good stories suitable for any age. One of the last she wrote – she died in 1992 – was The Shining Company, set in 6th century Britain, and one of its central characters is the poet Aneirin, who appears in my books as the young bard Neirin (the original form of his name). He looks different in my version, and his background and life story are different, but down at the core he is much the same person - as he has to be, to write the great poem Y Gododdin by which we know him, 1400 years later.

There were other seeds, of course, and maybe I’ll blog about them another day. But for now, I’m back to packing.


Friday, February 8, 2008

More Welsh

A lot of wind here this week, although mostly cold wind. A week or so back, though, we had a lot of warm south-west wind, and I wrote a piece about it for Welsh class.

Y Gwynt Chinook

Mae hi’n wyntog iawn heddiw. Gwynt cryf yw e, sy’n chwythu o’r de-gorllewin. Gwynt gwyllt sy’n udain yn y coed, ac yn crynu’u canghennau. Gwynt enfawr sy’n ruthro dros y myneddoed, yn rhuo dros y bryniau a’r cymoedd, yn gwaeddu dros y gwastadeddau. Gwynt cadarn sy’n gwthio’r cwmylau bratiog ymlaen. Gwynt cynnes sy’n toddi’r hên iâ a’r eira oddi wrth y wlad.

Nid gwynt y gwanwyn yw e, ond gwynt sy’n rhedeg o’r flaen y storm, gwynt negeswr, gwynt sy’n addo mwy o dywydd oer. Dim ond blas y gwanwyn yw e’n hôli i ni o’r de pell twyn heddiw. Yfory daw’r gaeaf oer yn ôl.

The Chinook Wind

It's very windy today. It's a strong wind, that blows from the south-west. A wild wild that howls in the trees, and shakes their branches. A huge wind that rushes across the mountains, roaring over the hills and the valleys, shouting across the plains. A strong wind that pushes the ragged clouds along. A warm wind that breaks the old ice and snow from the land.

It's not a spring wind, but a wind that runs before the storm, a messager wind, a wind that promises more cold weather. It brings us only a taste of spring from the warm distant south today. Tomorrow cold winter will come back.

And it did.


Sunday, February 3, 2008

Busy, busy...

No post last weekend - I was trying to combine packing for Estrella War and writing the next chaper. Results: tents packed, but not the camp kitchen gear; chapter only started. So far this weekend, I finished the chapter (see the side bar update, below the two cover pictures) and the kitchen gear is still to be done. Oh, and yesterday I saw a large red fox run through the yard in the middle of the afternoon...

Other new stuff on the sidebar: two Welsh dictionary sites here and here and a link to some lovely Welsh pictures on BBC Wales. I also added a reading list for Dark Ages Anglo-Saxons and a separate link to Benjamin Bagby's Beowulf site, which I heartily recommend.