Gan Gwenllian Lâs
Nofel gwïar am ddod allan am y tro cyntaf fel menyw drawsrywiol drwy bŵer y Gymraeg fel ail-iaith.
I am currently authoring a novel in Welsh entitled Yr Hwyaden Fach Ddychrynllyd, which concerns an eggmode trans women in her early twenties navigating gender through language, calligraphy, useless teachers, and queer friends — set in Aberystwyth, mid-90s, when record shops and good nights out were still things.
Whatever use my writings may be of — all royalties, and other monies I earn from my book sales go directly to Stonewall Cymru.
Yr Hwyaden Fach Ddychrynllyd [The Frightful Duckling] explores 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 eggmodes, geography, gender, eunuchs, and hugs. Written in primarily (awkward) Welsh but shifting and reverting to English and Wenglish in sections.
This unsettled linguistic plurality examines the conscious paradoxes of internalized phobia, pre-comceived denials, and gradual self-actualization . . . of alternative speech to navigate the spaces of being and becoming trans.
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 pronouncing 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 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 and Plaid Pride. Whether the ms goes with a professional outfit– ideally Y Lolfa for obvs reasons, or self-published … book could be rubbish, after all) … 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 second language authorship. 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 not, Yr Hwyaden Fach Ddychrynllyd 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, as well as political movements most dedicated to helping them (Plaid Cymru).
She: Absolute quiet days reading with tea, rain
— and terror, retreat; then despair with retreat —
because of an attic dress,
‘trust against chastisement’,
in a knockoff pattern of country roses,
‘sewn to summarise she the unseen’.
They: Guardians far away, blocked by a
petrified burst the door frame,
witness silent acrimony.
be great to just — be forever
— no filters, surrendered to full honesty:
restitution to life, to recover life back,
away driven the terrifying hilarity,
or surrogate mockery.
Deafened and future delayed’
Wearing my willful act of anachronism,
And flawed Fashion providing psychic self-defense
I use Facebook, iOS, and WordPress in Cymraeg (Welsh), although be wary of this dreadfully anoying localization bug with Word. Along with Hawai’ian (studied in Hilo, HI) — Cymraeg is one of the tongues of Heaven. I’m a member of the translation team that is developing a Welsh platform for accessing Twitter. Undergrad studies that I had to abandon for the narrowness of graduate school have decades later coincided with a very fortuitous work opportunity. Life is funny that way, no? As an ex-academic, I’m still writing just as much, but also getting my hands on the research being integrated with all kinds of fascinating digital platforms.