Erotic Writing in Wales
Well, it was yet another lovely week at the University of Wales in Caerleon – my third time at the Writers’ Conference. My erotic writing workshop attracted a diverse group of men and women of all ages and persuasions, and a surprising amount of talent. Some excellent work was produced in a short amount of time, ranging from the poignant to the downright hilarious. I don’t want to play favourites by mentioning specific pieces, but yes, I did find myself moved by several of the works presented on the final morning of the course. What is always rewarding to me is when people tell me how I’ve changed their perspective on erotic writing and that I got them to do something they never believed they could do – and to be comfortable in doing it. One participant even wrote a charming little ditty about me and Teddy (my bear, if you’ve not figured that out yet!). And yes, it’s suitable for those of a more delicate persuasion. I should add that this wasn’t part of the homework I’d assigned, but rather a … well… dare I say, “tribute”?
One great thing about the conference is that I got fed and fed and fed some more (I don’t like to cook). I partook of two desserts a day; anything with cream was fair game – and I was prepared to fight till death for it too! Of course, having Teddy with me tended to put anyone off violence at the dessert section. I doubt I gained any weight though; the region is extremely hilly and after schlepping back and forth to the village enough times (no one in Wales seems to know what “schlep” means), not to mention on the campus itself, I probably ended up losing weight. And yes, everyone kept asking me where I put it. I do hope they were referring to the dessert.
On Monday evening, Teddy and I went along on the pub crawl (though I’d already been in my favourite pub the night before – The Hanbury Arms – where Alfred Lord Tennyson apparently went on the piss and where I had my toes bitten – and I’ll leave you to ponder that one). On Tuesday I paid yet another visit to the Roman ruins, which has the remains of an amphitheatre. It was a perfect day, the clouds were threatening overhead, a drizzle had begun, and I stood in the centre of the arena no doubt looking very peculiar. I also wrote something on a stone (using another stone as pen), but I’m not going to tell you what it was. It’s personal. On Wednesday afternoon I went on the excursion to Hay on Wye. Well, if you’re really into mouldy musty old books, this is your Mecca. Everyone ran off to find their treasures; as for me, I found some ice cream and a pair of one-of-a-kind earrings in an artsy little shop. Or at least I think they’re one-of-a-kind. Our coach driver was a roly-poly fellow from Brecon who made a lot of sheep jokes. All I know is, I’ve been to Wales many times, and I’ve yet to see any kind of dodgy activity with sheep. Mind you, I did notice a cow walking a bit funny.
Moving on from the profane to the sacred, the highlight of the week was definitely the Thursday evening appearance of the Cwmbach Male Choir, a cheeky bunch of Welshmen who performed for us and then as is customary each year, continued in the bar for another two hours till midnight, downing pints and singing everything from Elvis to weepy Irish ballads. When they left (threatening to kidnap both me and Teddy), a disco ensued, but it featured so much Abba that I was finally forced to seek refuge in the computer room to check messages and return pokes on Facebook. (I don’t care what anyone says: I am NOT going to see “Mama Mia.”)
Sadly, I couldn’t stay forever in that lovely land and had to return to London right at the Friday evening rush hour. The tube quickly jolted me out of my Welsh tranquility with its delayed trains, trains that didn’t stop where I needed to stop, and trains that just sat there because there was a backlog of trains. One can’t help but wonder how Britain actually ran an empire when they can’t even run a transportation system. But I’m not going to get all political here. I probably should stick to writing fiction. It’s easier.
Entry filed under: Uncategorized. Tags: Abba, Alfred Lord Tennyson, books, Brecon, Britain, Caerleon, Caerleon Writers Holiday, creative writing, Cwnbach Male Choir, Elvis, erotic writing, erotic writing workshop, Facebook, Hay on Wye, Irish ballads, London, pub crawl, Roman ruins, The Hanbury Arms, University of Wales, Writers' Conference.