y cwtch / the safe place

I’ve loved the freedom of being inside
Need a new start and a different time
Something grows in the space between me
And it’s twisting and changing this fragile body.
Manic Street Preachers, “Born a Girl”
“Meuyl ar uy maryf i onyt agoraf y drws, e wybot ay gwir a dywedir am hynny.”
“Evil betide me, if I do not open the door to know if that is true which is said concerning it.”
“Branwen uerch Lyr,” The Mabinogion. Saes tr., Lady Charlotte Guest

To be honest, political/academic writing has eroded steadily in interest for me during this current climate of rising temperatures — both in the sea and in the semantics.

Fiction suddenly has become tangible and intriguing again.

y cwtch [English: the safe place] is a novel in progress. As I finalize on what I want to do with words, typing away on this manuscript has restored the satisfaction and enjoyment of composition. Mainly set in Aberystwyth and Machynlleth during the mid 1990s. On the themes of trans, geography, gender, eunuchs, and hugs. Written in primarily (awkward) Welsh but shifting and reverting to English and Wenglish in sections. It’s intentional.

This unsettled linguistic plurality examines the conscious paradoxes of internalized transphobia, self-actualization, and sex transition . . . and the words and spaces required to navigate the pre-conceived impossibility of transness. Learning a new language, especially one marked by mutations and inflections (not to mention elegance and independence), parallels my own attempts to articulate woman (benyw/dyn) as if saying the word for the very first time.

However foolish in concept, or inept in delivery, this novel has been a solace to me, a deciphering of dysphoric puzzles, in the reckoning of selfhood that Neil Gaiman allegorized as a game of you. (Really great graphic novel series, although, I still have to get round to producing that article on the trans body in pain and the shitty cissexism of idealized femme afterlife as better alternative to flawed trans mortality that the final panels convey.)

Proverbially, I am my own most hostile obstacle, so as motivation I’ve decided to donate all proceeds from publication to Stonewall Cymru. Whether the ms goes with a professional outfit– ideally Y Lolfa for obvs reasons, or self-published … book could be rubbish) … whatever happens, the %100 commitment will be applied.

And whatever the literary results they’ll be honest and from the heart. That I assure.

I’ll produce my own translation of the original into English (à la Y Gwyll/Hinterland). An appendix will be included entitled “Why I Write in the Welsh Language”, which will describe the freeing effects of composition and transcreation. Without desire for external justification, I reflect here on the creative liberation that translation and adaptation enabled for me as a trans author — as well as the personal debt I owe to Welsh/Cymraeg that seems more pertinent to me now and ever. Also, in a way Ancestral Recall could noty cwtch depicts my own analysis about contemporary Celtic nationalism, independence, and local resistance in Wales, Scotland, and Ireland.

Love it/hate it — I suppose there’s enough enthusiasm/suspicion out there to ensure at least a few sales; and all of it will go to trans youth services in Wales and in Welsh.

ps–apologies for the endless aoifeschatology typos. I promise I’ll have polylingual editorial input and proofreading on the novel. If you think my English is rife with eyesight errors …  😂😝🌼






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