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-Yes, it was an unforgettable
-experience. Yes, it was me.
-And no, I wasn't dreaming. Things
-like this happened to other people.
-But it was me on my feet
-when the ceremonial horns sounded.
-I'll remember the thrill forever.
-All I did was follow my instinct.
-I simply obeyed the urge
-to create and communicate.
-And I was in love with words,
-as someone once said about me.
-People who know me thought I'd
-shed a few tears - of happiness.
-Though I'm emotional at times,
-tears didn't come, thank goodness...
-..or I'd have had panda-like eyes
-through the ceremony!
-I was too busy enjoying everything.
-I'd done my crying three weeks
-earlier, when told I'd won.
-The name of the winning
-Prose Writer is Sonia Edwards...
-Even now, I doubt whether
-I can really describe the thrill.
-That's the biggest irony.
-I was acclaimed for my words...
-..but can't for the life of me
-find them when I really need them.
-A unique bonus was winning
-on home ground in Anglesey.
-Llanbedr-goch's Eisteddfod was only
-15 miles from Cemaes, the village...
-..where I grew up, at the most
-northerly point of the island.
-It's a strange experience,
-returning after a long absence.
-It's someone else's home now.
-At times like this, one can
-empathise with the alienation...
-..described by T H Parry-Williams
-after being away from home a while.
-The cool distance that came
-between him and the mountains...
-..the rocks, and the cliffs.
-Then the enchanting glory
-of familiarity returned.
-That's what it is.
-Maybe it's easier, at times,
-to appreciate things from afar.
-But I have returned often
-in my thoughts.
-Or rather, I created characters
-who were willing to go in my place.
-I grew up within sight
-and sound of the sea.
-It's no surprise it features
-prominently in my work.
-I remember hours of amazement...
-..just looking at the ever-changing
-drama of this expanse of water...
-..locked between two headlands.
-For me, the sea is alive.
-It has its squalls,
-and its cheerful moods.
-Just like a flaunting prima donna...
-..who knows she's more beautiful
-and talented than any other.
-That's where the enchantment
-The other-worldliness. The romance.
-GLAS YDI'R NEFOEDD
-"There's no-one else on the beach...
-"..apart from the young couple
-in the distance.
-"They laugh, and call to each other.
-"The wind steals their voices...
-"..snatches words from their mouths,
-leaving them mute.
-"Looking at them is like
-following characters in a mime.
-"I see a strip of blue, stretching
-untidily across the monotone sky.
-"It's only a narrow rim, like
-a piece of ribbon blown off a hat.
-"It's an early spring day,
-and the tide is out.
-"I notice seaweed on rocks,
-shining like wet dogs.
-"I'm so close,
-I can taste the salt."
-Writing in the first person
-is the best way to reveal...
-..a character's most secret
-thoughts and intentions.
-Small fragments of Cemaes appeared
-in my first book...
-..almost unbeknown to me, in
-rocklets, waves and seaweed fronds.
-The core of that book was included
-in my Prose Medal winning volume...
-..at the Anglesey County
-Eisteddfod, back in 1992.
-I highly respect the adjudicator,
-Eigra Lewis Roberts, as an author.
-It was an honour to hear the late
-Elen Roger Jones reading one story.
-"School was a safe place,
-cosy and familiar, like home.
-"The smell of powder paint and
-apples, and tiny, small chairs...
-"..smaller than everyone's bottoms
-apart from ours."
-That's what I remember about
-my first day at primary school.
-Small chairs, small toilets,
-small basins to wash your hands.
-Low pegs for coats.
-It was like stepping into a world
-made for little people.
-I was amazed. This is the school,
-but these aren't the children.
-The noise on the yard is the same,
-wherever you go.
-The sound of children at play
-A magical sound that sings
-the same song to all of us.
-The same song, yes, but sadly,
-not the same language.
-There were special smells,
-paint and glue and clay.
-The real smells of primary school.
-I still remember it, especially
-when I visit a sixth former...
-..on work experience
-at a primary school.
-The smell of apples always
-brings memories flooding back.
-For me, primary schools and apples
-are closely associated.
-On this yard, two older girls
-told me some shocking facts.
-Swallowing apple pips
-was very dangerous.
-An apple tree would grow inside you.
-It was an agreeable naivety.
-I was so fond of primary school that
-I cried when it was time to go home.
-Now, as a teacher, I can't claim I'm
-that emotional when 3.30pm arrives.
-But plenty of emotions returned
-as I stood near my old home.
-The experience of leaving Cemaes
-for the big school was difficult.
-I had to leave behind
-my best friend.
-She was six months younger than me.
-With whiter than white socks, and a
-stiff new satchel, I felt awkward...
-..as I stood outside
-the chip shop that first morning.
-Good morning. How are you?
-From 'Tonsuleitis' GLOYNNOD
-From 'Tonsuleitis' GLOYNNOD
-"The face of the school bus
-roars into view.
-"Its round headlamps,
-and old-fashioned metal grille...
-"..resemble the eyes and nose
-of some slow, kind monster.
-"As it trundles smokily
-to the pavement...
-"..our feet rumble along
-the concrete in a greedy shudder.
-"Move out of the way! Damn babies.
-"My knees are chunks of chubby
-coldness above my socks.
-"Hurry up, Jan, I'm dying for a fag.
-"The big girls, snapping, pushing
-and smelling of cheap scent and gum.
-"Once we're aboard,
-it's warm and cosy...
-"..though we have to swallow the
-smell of dust and sour tobacco...
-"..as the engine shakes our guts."
-On the whole,
-secondary school was OK.
-Most of my memories
-are pleasant enough.
-But I can't think of them without
-remembering the time my father died.
-He died on an August day
-in that hot summer of 1975.
-I was in the fourth form,
-beginning the O-level course.
-That early, harrowing experience
-of losing someone close...
-..is inextricably entwined
-with a time of growing up.
-The stormy teenage years,
-when so much changes.
-I never called him Dad.
-We were mates. He wasn't a strict
-father, nor a disciplinarian.
-He didn't have to be.
-He never threatened, he never
-gave me or my brother a smack.
-"I daren't," he said.
-"I don't know my own strength."
-That was certainly true,
-as he used to be a boxer.
-His exploits in the boxing ring
-took place long before my time.
-But I loved hearing his stories,
-and about the people he'd met.
-He said Doris Day gave him a kiss...
-..after he floored a black giant
-twice his size...
-..in a bout in Australia.
-He started to box
-after joining the airforce.
-Soon, he won the Inter Allied Welter
-Weight Championship of Morocco.
-Trained by Marcel Zidane, a former
-middle weight world champion...
-..my father won more than 60 bouts,
-and turned professional.
-I treasure an old article from
-'Y Cymro', which begins by saying...
-.."Tecwyn Parry is a quiet lad.
-"He's the 27-year-old son of Mr and
-Mrs W J Parry, Morawel, Cemaes.
-"But in boxing gloves, he becomes
-a whirlwind, a thunderbolt.
-"Every blow of his fists delivers
-mayhem to its recipient."
-My father's life
-was full and colourful.
-A Second World War Desert Rat, one
-of the 8th Army lads, as he said.
-Every night, he had to sleep
-with a knife under his pillow.
-He was also a police Superintendent.
-Not in Wales, but in Kenya
-and north Africa...
-..during the famous
-Mau Mau rebellion.
-It's sad one can't turn back the
-clock to ask more, and learn more.
-It's the stuff of blockbusters,
-plots and sub-plots.
-adventure, fighting, blood.
-Not my usual subject matter, true,
-but that's what makes a best-seller.
-Wilbur Smith, eat your heart out.
-I think of my father's life
-as an unfinished novel.
-He died of a heart attack
-the night before a sponsored walk...
-..around Anglesey to raise money
-for disabled children.
-He was just over 50 years old.
-That's the reason behind
-much of my outlook on life.
-How fragile, how short,
-how precious life is.
-Live life to the full, for
-who knows what tomorrow may bring.
-If tomorrow comes at all.
-but I don't think so.
-It's a good incentive
-to accomplish all your aims.
-To realise dreams. To go for it.
-That can't be all bad, can it?
-My father's early life
-was quite exotic.
-I had an ordinary, Welsh upbringing,
-in the Cemaes of the '60s and '70s.
-"Chapel seats, so very cold,
-and slippery, like glass.
-"The sun, like a yellow shadow
-outside the long windows...
-"..was pushed back
-by clouds of patterned panes.
-"But no matter, chapels
-are supposed to be cold places.
-"Cold, and quiet,
-and respectable, and old."
-There's a chapel
-in most people's background...
-..be they religious or otherwise.
-Sunday clothes, learning verses,
-passing mint imperials down the row.
-I used to come here regularly with
-my aunt - a picture of obedience.
-He's sure to be looking, frowning
-down from the firmament...
-..on hats and bald heads.
-He knows I want a pee.
-I keep the mint in one place in my
-mouth, so it gets hotter and hotter.
-It sticks tightly to my cheek. Can
-God see through people's cheeks?'
-Across the road from Bethel chapel,
-there's a shop.
-I don't use the past tense.
-The shop and its wares
-is still here, though shut now.
-I worked in Megan Owen's shop.
-A downcast 14-year-old, with
-pocket money in very short supply.
-A quarter, wasn't it?
-A quarter, wasn't it?
-Yes, please. Quite thick slices.
-It says Pioneer Stores on the sign.
-But it will always be Megan's shop,
-to all the village.
-I learnt how to slice boiled ham...
-..how to smile at the visitors
-who swarmed here each summer...
-..and the importance of small shops
-to the life of a community.
-A yard of counter is better
-than an acre of land, they say.
-Yes, it's a fine way to get to know
-people, and how to deal with them.
-I worked here every Saturday and
-summer holiday, until I left college
-It wasn't just for the pocket money.
-I had loads of fun here with Megan.
-Although I gained my degree
-from Bangor University...
-..I have a diploma in how to deal
-with people from this shop.
-"Maths and English," said Celia.
-"You must have those
-if you want to get on.
-"She sells frocks,
-in an expensive dress shop.
-"Apparently, that's 'getting on'.
-"The rainbow is fading,
-melting like an ice lolly.
-"I had good marks in Welsh.
-"Welsh?" said Celia.
-"Welsh," said my father.
-"You're good at that, aren't you?
-"What use is it, Gwyn bach? It's
-useless once you cross Menai Bridge.
-"I look at him. He says nothing.
-"I wonder, how far is it
-to Menai Bridge from here."
-Yes, like Mari in the story 'Enfys',
-I was good at Welsh in school.
-I had a dear and marvellous teacher
-in Geraint Percy Jones.
-Without his encouragement, I'd not
-have dreamt of leaving Anglesey...
-..to go to any university.
-I went to Bangor, clutching
-what little confidence I had.
-I'm glad to say
-I haven't looked back.
-I soon learnt some amazing things.
-The price of a half of mild,
-and what a 'blue moon' is.
-No-one from our family had been to
-college before. It was quite new.
-My aunt thought I'd need an uniform!
-I did get a scarf,
-and a scruffy duffle coat.
-That was all the uniform
-I needed in a place like this.
-Everyone in JMJ hostel
-had proper Welsh names.
-Many an 'ap' this or that, and some
-had even dropped their surnames.
-I was plain Sonia Parry,
-a name from the back of beyond.
-Oh, for a name
-like Elin or Gwenllian!
-Apparently, I was named
-after the daughter...
-..of a family who fled
-persecution in Poland.
-They reached Cemaes as refugees
-from the Second World War.
-A romantic story. I've learnt
-to live with my unusual name now.
-Only one cloud blotted the sky
-during the Bangor years.
-Losing my father was linked
-to my early teens.
-In the middle of my degree course,
-I lost a very special aunt.
-I was very close to Mair,
-my father's sister.
-She was a cultured woman.
-She, more than anyone,
-kindled similar interests in me.
-From 'Chwaer fy Nhad'
-Y LLAIS YN Y LLUN
-"She owns the stilled words.
-shimmering like eyes...
-"Overflowing with yesterdays.
-"She is the voice in the picture."
-Mair didn't live to see me publish.
-But dedicating the medal-winning
-novel to her memory...
-..was one way of acknowledging
-her guiding role in my life.
-If my interest in literature
-..I probably received it from my
-grandmother - Dad and Mair's mother.
-Nain was perceptive and literate, an
-Eisteddfod reciter and adjudicator.
-Were she still alive, a series like
-Talwrn y Beirdd would appeal to her.
-She would certainly be
-one of the chairman's fans!
-The mother of a young soldier
-sent to the Gulf.
-"There is a chill in the stars
-tonight, in the bustle of battle.
-"Every mother's boy in battlegear.
-"Where is the hero,
-when dawn breaks?"
-I always knew I'd write.
-But for me, it was a matter
-of living first, then writing.
-I was over thirty when I first
-published. That was right for me.
-I didn't want to look back,
-and feel ashamed of my early work.
-I'm sure I did the right thing.
-Over thirty was the right age
-for me to begin.
-With my first publication
-It seemed to snowball.
-The more I produced,
-the more I wanted to produce.
-The creative urge was strong in me.
-I had been productive on the quiet.
-I'd hidden work in drawers.
-When I felt confident enough to show
-the work to everyone, it was OK.
-I have published quite a lot
-in a short period of time.
-It hasn't seemed laborious.
-A labour of love, perhaps.
-But, as Kate Roberts said,
-one has to write, or suffocate.
-It is true, when one has something
-one wants to convey.
-You have to write.
-After writing six books in seven
-years, I'm often asked...
-.."where do you find the time,
-as a full-time working mother?
-Being a mother
-is an experience I'd never forgo.
-Rhys is the light of my life.
-I married into a family that had
-pony breeding in their blood.
-I wasn't used to animals as a child,
-apart from a tabby cat and sheepdog.
-I learnt a lot.
-There is a rich vocabulary which
-is disappearing all too rapidly.
-The words almost possess
-the taste of Anglesey's earth.
-Is this a good poem
-to describe November the 5th?
-I'm a Welsh teacher
-at Llangefni Comprehensive School.
-Teaching pays the bills.
-It's either work, or starve.
-That's quite an incentive.
-But it's more than that.
-It's a privilege to share
-my love of words with my pupils.
-When I need to escape, I go
-jogging. Everyone needs space.
-It's a good way
-to keep healthy and fit, I hope.
-That's not the only benefit
-I get from wearing my trainers.
-To write is a chronicle. Sitting
-at a desk or word processor.
-When I walk, or run,
-in the fresh air...
-..that's when many ideas come to me.
-I was brought up in the shadow
-of the Wylfa nuclear power station.
-Some might expect me to write
-about the future of the planet...
-..the environment, or green issues.
-But there are no politics, feminism
-or any other '-ism' in my work.
-The role of a writer or poet
-isn't to preach - not in my opinion.
-It's conveying things
-as I see them, as I feel them.
-For me, writing is a way
-of defying oblivion.
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