Bardsey Island Observational Research Project

Shape

Aug 11, 2010. It feels so good to be on this island exploring it. But as the days progress i realise I am mostly exploring me. It is truly a magical place. The journey is no longer just about the project for the course. I feel like a proper writer and artist here. My work is real. Back home saying ‘my work’ just feels pretentious. And who would I say it to that would understand?

My hands and face are brown as a berry and i haven’t moisturised my skin or used sunblock (oops!) in days. My hair is one giant tangle. I washed it outside the kitchen door with soap the other day just because I had a bowl of hot water to wash my hands in and it felt so pleasant I just didn’t want to stop! I felt like Dita Von Tease in her Martini glass. Boy I can understand why she looks like she’s having so much fun in there now!

I am writing this on a cliff with seabirds calling all around me. The sea is a deep blue green with white horses riding the top of the waves that are pummelling the rocks below me. It’s a beautiful sunny day, warm probably low 70s, but the brisk breeze from the south west is chilly and it’s going straight down the back of my jacket, so I’m hunkered down – sheepstyle- behind a heavily lichened rock. The grass is so green here compared to the grey salt-battered cliff on the north coast of Anglesey. There are a few tall, grasses with their seedheads waving in the breeze, a few yellow flowers like dandelions that are called something like Jack of the morning because they close up by noon. There is also a little Heather dotted about and a few tiny red and blue wildflowers hunkered down in the grass that you would probably need to be a rare wildflower expert to identify. It seems strange to be typing all this on my phone, here, now. In many ways I wonder why I am doing it.

I didn’t expect to enjoy having to keep a blog for this project but funnily enough I have bonded with it. I might even put the finished script up here when I am done with it. In fact, I think that would be quite fitting end to the project if not the blog. But it doesn’t have to be the end of the blog … I know I will be coming back to Enlli and I would love to be one of those people bringing their grandchildren here one day. So maybe this blog will be the story of all my journeys here.

Today I am not writing or observing. Or researching. Today is not about words, so I will not write today apart from this. I’ve been reading Eat, Pray, Love lately and have been inspired to rekindle my interest in meditation and to stop using words for a while. The monks here a thousand years ago were probably silent at least for part of their time. I am also trying to get away from thinking in words. I find drawing, painting and sketching help with this. I started this morning by doing an oil pastel drawing of the abbey ruins, trying not to draw anthing you could give a word to (archway, rock, moss) just focussing on the shapes, colors and the deliciously warm sunlight creeping up behind me. Then I moved on to more abstract charcoal drawings. I must be disciplined not to represent anything ~ only to draw shapes, doodle if you like. It’s my own kind of dreamtime based on the book Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain (can’t give a proper citation as am typing in phone on a cliff right now). The book teaches us to draw representations of emotions and it seems that we humans have an inbuilt vocabulary of what different shapes and lines represent. I think this is probably very relevant to story – especially when trying to convert it to film scenes.

My aim here is also to try to find out the shapes and colors that the island gives me. Among the firewood beside our log burner on the first night was a piece if driftwood with Ynys Enlli written on it and a doodle that took me a moment to realise was the island. Like a backwards capital P lying on its side, it IS the island. Flat at one end with the rounded mountain at the other. This drawing interests me. What other shapes are there that I can use?

We shall see…

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