What literary pilgrimages have you gone on?

I’ve written before about how i chose the location for the medieval part of the first Braided Dimensions series without having been there. Throughout the writing, i imagined, just based on maps and reading about the areas, going and figuring out what place could fit for Kyna’s home. It was by utter happenstance that, that when I made up my mind to go there, a friend chose an airbnb for my visit that became my location for Kyna’s home. It was on the road out of town, a road that runs by Llanbadarn Fawr, the oldest abbey of the area, built in the 500s, a road that in fact can take you to Machynlleth. 

I just recorded my 11th chapter of my first book, which takes the reader to that place for the first time. After I went on my pilgrimage to Aberystwyth, I went back and edited the chapters to fit my new knowledge. In this chapter, they go to the winter fair at Machynlleth. Having been there I know it’s pronounced “ma-HUNT-leth.”

The discovery that the contours of the land could fit my story perfectly–albeit a tad bit longer walk to the ocean than my book indicates–gives me a thrill, a sense of destiny. Ancestral memory?

Machynlleth, an old market town of slate walls, bridges and buildings, is entirely fitting for a winter fair. Now, there’s an amazing seven-acre Centre for Alternative Technology (in Welsh, Canolfan y Dechnoleg Amgen) close to town that draws a lot of visitors. It’s grown to be more of an eco-centre, demonstrating sustainable development. Created in 1973, it was inspired by the book Small Is Beautiful, A Blueprint for Survival. They teach about organic farming, and have wonderful gardens and a great cafe. The site was the Llwyngwern Slate Quarry from the 1800s. You can still see the aerial ropeway and steam engine that lifted out waste rock from the pit. 

When I record Chapter 12 this week, I’ll be at the Winter Faire in Machynlleth, imagining it, then and now. 

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