Sunday, January 31, 2010


We celebrated Imbolc last night with a fire on the patio. Firelight and a full moon - wonderful. A clear dark sky with only wisps of high cloud catching the moonlight, Orion and his dog star bright before the moon rose, then fading in response to her light. A cold north wind at sunset gradually dropped. A fire mostly of white birch and maple trimmings from a friend's trees, two years old at least and dry. A bed of glowing red coals with flickering blue halos below the higher flames. A few twigs from my trees, again old prunings, rowen and oak and cherry. Pale golden mead - the best - and fresh bread, shared around and with the fire. Then when the flames died down and the moon rose high, indoors for warmth and more food. And so home.

Imbolc is one of the four cross-quarter festivals in the pagan year, along with Beltane, Lammas, and Samhain, and marks the beginning of spring. It's a fire festival, and is associated with Bridged, Celtic Saint/Goddess, and with the beginning of the lambing season and the ewe's milk that goes with it. Not much sign of spring last night, but it will come.

May you have a good Imbolc.


Sunday, January 24, 2010


Cold today, windy, cloudy this morning with a little sunshine now. I'm glad I spent last weekend mostly doing yard work while the weather was good. Today's for reading, thinking, a little light housekeeping.

The St. Dwynwyn's event went well, and we all had fun - llawer o hwyl, yn Gymraeg. Harping, singing, storytelling, dancing, poetry, and a mummers' play to finish things off. My "three goats" story seemed to go over well. The third word I used, instead of "pont" = "bridge", was "bwyta" -- "eat". Seeing that the goats want more grass to eat, and the giant wants to eat the goats, it seemed more central (grin). It got a good response, too.

Back to reading and thinking now.


Saturday, January 23, 2010

St. Dwynwyn's Day

The Colorado Welsh Society is celebrating St. Dwynwyn's Day tonight, and I'm telling a story. This sounds like a normal thing for me to do, but there's a catch. I'm planning to tell a story in Welsh, to a (mostly) non-Welsh-speaking audience.

It isn't as crazy as it sounds. The story is one that should be familiar to everyone - the children's tale of the three goats, the bridge, and the giant. I'm planning to teach the audience three words before I start - "gafr", goat; "cawr", giant; and "pont", bridge. And I'll include interjections in English, like running footnotes. I did something like this at the Elizabeth Celtic Fair last summer, which is how I got asked to do it tonight. We'll see how it goes.

On the writing front, things are more or less stalled. This is partly due to some mundane issues I'm dealing with, and partly because I needed to think about just what story I'm telling here. Some of the subplots were showing signs of taking over, which is not good. I also thought about changing the title, but... well, it depends. Anyway, thinking, background reading, but no writing since the last post. It will come when it's ready.


Sunday, January 10, 2010

Ten days into the new year...

Yes, I've been neglecting this blog. Guilty, guilty, guilty! I'd resolve to do better this year, but I don't do New Year's resolutions.

Anyway, after several holidays, a foot or two of snow, and some fiendishly cold weather (-5 F. more than once last week), what do I have to say for myself?

I'm five chapters (58 pages) into the new book, and since Gwernin left Wales it's been tough going. Start to write, go off to do more research, come back and write a little, go off to do more research, continue in loop... Two steps forward and one back. I *still* don't know enough about Ireland. Too many things to check (sigh). More books to buy and read (grin). I've established most of the main characters -- boy, have I! -- but there's still more background work to do. And one of the places I visited in Ireland doesn't fit in at all -- it probably wasn't occupied in the 6th century -- and there are at least three more places I now want to take the story which I didn't see while I was there (two for lack of time, one because I didn't know it was there). And some of the last part of Gwernin's planned itinerary just doesn't make sense with the topography. And then there's the story arc...

So all in all, I think this book is going to take at least a year longer to write than I expected -- but then, I was also planning to retire at the end of December, and I've had to put that off. So it goes...

It will take as long as it takes to get the book right, that's all.

Belated Happy New Year!