A Snippet from "Aberystwyth"

by - 2:05 PM

This is me - Aberystwyth, Wales circa 2011.
So, first of all, I can't believe what generous and encouraging friends I have out there!  Everywhere!  Many of you lovelies took the time yesterday to send your congratulations on my announcement of my upcoming poetry book due out this fall, and for that I am genuinely grateful and humbled. And a little bit daunted (now there are going to be people out there besides me reading these poems I'm writing). And a lot energized.

Let me explain a little about the writing process for this book.  I had been writing a few poems here and there over the course of the past year, collecting scraps of life (mostly about spring because you all know I'm a complete spring junkie) and waiting to see a pattern emerge that would inform the direction of the rest of my poetry, and then the book would just sort of name itself and fill itself out from there.  But, on a walk around Lake Lynn (my poet's office, in other words) with Zak, and our nephew Isiah, one night a few weeks back, I had been pondering some cliche poetly thoughts about nature at the mo. Those thoughts got interrupted by conversation, and the very interruption itself in a second changed the entire direction of the book, gave it a name, and gave it the opening poem.  From there, the creative process took off like a lightning bolt and in one sitting, I mapped out the 40+ topics I would be writing on.  And now I just get to do the fun part.  Write.

Last night the topic of Aberystwyth jumped out at me from that list of 40+ topics, begging to be written, so I obediently sat down to write.  Aberystwyth.  I learned of that quaint town in Wales on the Irish Sea by reading A String in the Harp, by Nancy Bond (it's a 1970s historical fantasy book which probably could not be farther off my personal brand, so I have no idea what drew me to it) as an 18-year-old away at her first year to college. And I was enamored.  The story is actually set in Borth, the neighboring village to the north, but Aberystwyth is featured on a regular basis throughout.  Do you ever get the feeling when reading fictional stories about real places, that the author was sent through time and space to deliver a message to you that you must visit this particular place some day?  Yep.  That's what happened.  I didn't know when.  I didn't know how.  But someday I would go to Aberystwyth.

The chance finally came in 2011.  Zak and I found ridiculously cheap airfare to London over our spring break that we couldn't pass up. We spent the first half of a trip to the British Isles meeting up with our dear friends, Artis & Dinia Silins, who lived in Walsall, England, at the time; then, we took a train westbound for the Welsh coast, out to Aberystwyth.  
You know how most of the stuff you build up in your mind to ridiculous, astronomic, cosmic  proportions ends up not being that great once you experience it?  Well, I am happy to report the opposite happened.  Instead, I walked around Aberystwyth for three blissful days, my brain constantly exploding with rapture.  I kind of gazed at all the people living there, nonchalantly going about their daily lives, and thinking, "I don't know how any of you people are getting any work done around here."  I, personally, could never perform a second of work there. Yes.  That's a compliment to the town. And Yes. It's that beautiful.

So, with extreme pleasure I wrote a little bit about how the Aberystwyth from my readings and imagination differed from the Aberystwyth of my experience.  A snippet from my poem goes like this:

But I didn't read about
The way the wind whips around
Your pastel rainbow of town homes
(The green one of which, my heart
Has already moved into
And neatly unpacked all its socks)
Or their tidy, uniform dormers 
Peering out to sea, 
Like friendly amphibians
Never blinking
Keeping watch over
The flags of all those nations
Flying wildly inland.
I also didn't read about
The way all those y's sound
Or all those consonants
For that matter
The way the young
Fiercely grasp this seminal language
The world fell asleep to centuries ago.

I can't wait to share the rest with you in those pages soon to be printed!

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