Ty Newydd Writing Centre. Llanystumdwy, North Wales. Once residence to Prime-Minister; David Lloyd George.
I have long held the ambition to spend quality time at a writing retreat. My thirst for this adventure reinforced after watching the film ‘Love Actually.’ The image of Colin Firth in his writing retreat and the moment his housekeeper removed the mug securing his manuscript was a scene I have stored in the library section of my brain for a very long time.
During a miserable November 2018, I began to research the possibility of making my dream a reality. Thank goodness for the internet which at the touch of a button opened up a number of possibilities.
Eventually, though I must add that it wasn’t a difficult decision. I applied for an extended weekend course at Ty Newydd; the National Writing Centre of Wales.
Established in 1990 the aim of the center is to develop writers of all backgrounds, ages, and abilities. Many world-famous writers have tutored at the center, sharing years of secrets and techniques.
A team of Literature Wales staff work at Ty Newydd providing a quiet and calm atmosphere that nurtures the perfect atmosphere to engage in creative writing.
My room under the eaves on the second floor of the listed building was delightful with its rustic décor and sloping roof. In fact, I felt privileged with respect to its location. With the kitchen a few steps down and library directly beneath me it was central to the main facilities.
The literature lounge originally David Lloyd George’s reception room houses a large collection of fiction, both in Welsh and English. While the Glyn-Jones Library which was his former study overlooking the extensive gardens contains an extensive collection of poetry. There is also a smaller collection of creative, non-fiction and plays.
We were a moderate-sized group of like-minded aspiring poets. From various parts of the country and backgrounds; with one thing in common. To improve our writing skills and to feed our creativity.
The course tutors Paul Henry and Samantha Wynne Rhydderch were inspirational in their approach to the course. The theme being, Poetry and the Sea.
I was awe-inspired at the diversity of poetry that was produced over the course and came away with inspiration and vigor for the next stage of my writing journey.
We were encouraged to write a poem that reflected the place where the land meets the sea. I would like to share with you a poem that I created in response to this.
I hope you enjoy it.
‘Footsteps in the Sand.’
Wet smooth sand, each grain tightly packed
Silica catching the first rays
As the East gives life once more.
Deep indentations, size nine, maybe ten.
Then side by side, two tiny feet
Like water babies, feather-light.
Shellac crushed to a grain of sand
Crystals and minerals long dissolved from the rock they formed.
Each sedimentary fragment washed upon the beach.
Igneous rock once deep in the crust, out of reach
Now fired and crushed.
Smoothed, golden and soft
Parent and child hand in hand.
Leaving their mark in the glistening sand.