Elizabeth Jane Corbett

writing her way home

Some pre-travel conversations

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With five days until I leave for Wales I find myself having some interesting conversations:

 

‘What will the weather be like in Wales, Liz?’

‘Summer when I arrive.’

‘And after that?’

‘Autumn.’

‘Followed by winter?’

‘Well, yes…’

‘So, it’ll be cold and grey and it will rain a lot?’

*

What will you eat in Wales, Liz?’

‘Er…what do you mean?’

‘Are there any special foods?’

‘Welsh cakes, which are delicious, but due to allergies I can’t eat them. They have faggots in the south but I’m not supposed to eat those either because of the onion. Bara Brith is nice too, but ditto the allergy situation.’

‘So … you’ll just head down to the local supermarket and eat the same as you always do?’

*

‘So, Liz, you’re not going to Wales for the weather … and you’re not going for the food. So, tell me, why are you going?

Good question. I have a great husband, a lovely white dog, four beautiful children and their partners, a to-die for-house in a heaps cool neighbourhood, a hot red bike, and a grandson in Brisbane, yet, for some reason, for the next five months, I am choosing to live without them.

Here are my reasons:

‘There are two worlds in Wales. The ‘muggle’ world on the surface that includes ordinary, everyday things like trees and mountains, the valley towns built around an industry that no longer exists, the do-or-die rugby culture, the proud industrial heritage depicted in the movies like Pride, the quirky humour that made TV shows like Gavin and Stacey. I love visiting that world. It is dear to me and precious. Yet I also seek another world – you could call it the Hogwarts of modern Britain. You don’t need a birthday letter to enter this hidden world. You simply need a language. A language which gives you access to one of the oldest living cultures in Europe. A culture of bards and musicians and poets. A culture proud and strong and ancient that has endured in the face of strident opposition. A culture that happens to be my heritage.’

*

‘So, you’re going to Wales for words?’

‘Yes. And to write.’

‘And that’s it? Language and writing?’

‘Well, yes… but it’s not simply words, is it? Language is the key to everything.’

 

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2 Comments

  1. A beautiful post, Liz.
    I so recognise the feelings from when I left my family for a few months to live, work and write in China. Though I didn’t have your heritage connection, that pull to explore words and the inspiration of place took me there. And the language that I feared could be such a barrier to my experience was overcome with few words spoken but much heart (and laughter). The words I wrote there though were key to the writer I became beyond my trip.
    Bon voyage! Best wishes and mega hugs for a brilliant time. I look forward to reading all about it and your novel when you return. xx Chris

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