I’ve just returned home from a snowy school run; a steaming mug of strong tea by my side and I’m wearing my comfy tartan pyjamas (why not? No-one can see me after all!). I relax my shoulders and breathe, “Aaaaahhh.” And now, I’m ready to start work on this week’s blog.
I would love to leave you with the illusion that my external surroundings are just as blissful. Like my grandfather, I am being inspired by a wonderful landscape as I type while the harmony of the sounds, sights and smells are impacting my every word.
Perhaps I’m in picturesque cottage in the middle of a noiseless wood?
Maybe a strange little cabin overlooking a lake?
Erm…I’m afraid not.
As you can see I’m next to a noisy building site – music blaring, machines roaring and workers shouting – and all I want to do is open my window and shout, ‘Shut-up’. However, I will not be defeated and, as I have been doing for some time, I will close the curtains, and my ears, take myself into my dream world of crashing waves and tweeting birds and complete the task at hand. As long as the builders don’t cut through a wire again and cause a power cut!
A silly, and slightly pointless start to the blog I know. It’s just I sometimes find it ironic that while I often sit in my office and write about the wonders of nature (in fact my first blog on here asked the question “Can a visual and sensory experience help you connect with a poem or piece of prose?”) , I work in a room that looks out onto a busy dual carriage-way one side and a half-built housing estate on the other. My frequent visits to my grandfather’s places whether in person, or looking at photos, are always a light relief.
Anyway – I digress. I wanted to use the opportunity of my first post of 2017 to remind people of the discoverdylanthomas.com website. By reading this blog you will already be aware of it, but have you really had a chance to explore it? It’s actually one of my proudest achievements as I feel it is one of the ways I can help create a long lasting legacy for my grandfather and his work.
“Where on earth do I start?” was my first question a few years ago, when my quest to learn more about my grandfather began. There was so much information available (just type Dylan Thomas into Google or You Tube and you’ll see what I mean), countless places to visit and a large number of people to talk to.
I then realised, to my horror, that most of the pages upon pages of biographical content I needed to read had not been digitised, so, more often than not, my bag weighed a ton, as it was full of books I was yet to read. Furthermore were the complex copyright issues I had to try and figure out – who exactly owned what? My confusion was further fuelled by the discovery that the different Dylan Thomas stakeholders don’t always talk to each other! Honestly, it’s true, I could write a book…
So, to cut a long story short, my main purpose for creating the website was to join up the dots and make the disjointed, and often complicated, world of Dylan Thomas an easier place to uncover. I wanted a central hub that celebrated and showcased everything Dylan Thomas: his places, life, work, resources, news and events, while being accessible, easy to navigate, and bringing together a vast amount of information. My web developer called it, “The Beast”.
I was also very keen for it to be a platform where everyone could have a voice. With that in mind, I warmly welcome and encourage suggestions for content and invite guest blogs. I’ve already had some wonderful contributions and my knowledge and understanding of my grandfather has improved as a result.
I really want the site to be used. I do not want it to be a ‘hidden gem’ that only those in the know have access to. Before returning to Facebook or Twitter (or back to work!), please find a moment to take a tour of the site and discover, or rediscover for many, the reasons why Dylan Thomas was such a wonderful wordsmith. Then, do go back to social media and share and share again while also adding links to other websites (we are happy to do the same for you) so www.discoverdylanthomas.com becomes a valuable resource for lovers of words for many years to come.
Hannah Ellis – 16th January 2017.
Hannah is a teacher, writer and consultant. You can learn more about her by visiting the website – http://www.hannahellisconsultancy.com