So. Bootcamp. Basically, the idea of the bootcamp is immersion resulting in increased confidence with Welsh as a (limited) speaker, not just a learner. No dog, no English, no phone signal (by the coincidence of being on the wrong network for the area) and no Internet connection (not by coincidence but by virtue of the housing) for a week. I can’t say I’ve actually learnt that much – it’s cleaned up a bit of my pronunciations but any new vocabulary probably won’t be remembered until I proceed with Gwrs 2 (finally). However, one of the things to come out of bootcamp is the decision to write some posts around languages in the near future. There are a few things that this might end up bringing to the site:
- A “Languages” (or “Ieithoedd”?) page. I want to ensure a permanent, obvious mention of SaySomethinginWelsh [External Link] with a bit of an explanation about how things are working out for me. But as someone who speaks English as their first language and who, some time in the dim and distant past, learnt some French it might also be worthwhile making a generalised page.
- Linked to that, I’m considering doing a blog post about my experience of the bootcamp (more on this in a bit). You can find some general updates and other people’s comments here: SSiW forum – Tales from April Bootcamp 2012 [External Link].
- And, finally for this section, I think there’s a fair amount of ideas / information for my world-building section of posts. I have some notes that may or may not come to fruition over the next week or so.
With respect to the “My experience” / how well I coped part of the subject, the answer is: I survived. The couple of times I’m actually mentioned in the bootcamp forum thread suggests I didn’t spoil everyone’s fun by being stressed out for the majority of the week. I feel a bit of a fraud / idiot for two main reasons on this one. Firstly, I didn’t actually warn anyone I have a tendency to shatter under stress (i.e. warn them I have Asperger’s) and, secondly, I didn’t plan for it myself. I hadn’t expected to just break on Easter Saturday (after a long drive).
It’s not like I didn’t expect to be stressed – new people, new place and new language? Come on! – but I thought I had my coping mechanisms in place. Turns out that I hadn’t. If I write a more involved post on bootcamp, I’ll explain all these things in more depth. Anyway, where the fraudulent element comes in, of course, is that my being so wound up has the potential to lessen or hide other people’s struggles in the same situation. Nervousness and (lack of) confidence is not something special to those of us diagnosed as on the Autism Spectrum, and we were all out of our everyday comfort zones. While I’m hardly an expert, everyone seemed to deal with things very well and we did all come away feeling better about speaking Welsh. (But I would warn anyone considering going to make sure they understand the stress involved. Don’t let it stop you but do understand that it’s all going to be a shock to the system. Talk things over with the organisers before you go if you think there might be a problem. They want you to go and they want to help you get the best out of the week.)
I did write a little bit at bootcamp (dispensation from “dim saesneg” as it’s my main coping strategy without Finn around) but my brain essentially fried some time on Easter Sunday and I have a very small word count of about a thousand words on various ideas I may not get back to – some non-fictional for the website and some words on a mid-length story idea that may not work properly. It was a little weird trying to write because my brain kept flip-flopping between languages. It’s still doing it now: starting in Welsh, realising it doesn’t have the right words so switching to English. Unfortunately, the result is very basic and the words still aren’t the right ones. This may improve with redrafting and continuing to work through the idea.
So, to the other ideas that came up as scratched markings in my notebook. Along with the standard fiction stuff and the language posts, you can expect to see mention of in the next few months is genealogy. I’ll be restricting anything I publish to three main family / name groups: the THOMASes, the TABERNERs and the CHARLESWORTHs. I need to investigate how best to make information available (with the standard proviso that I’m probably wrong, etc, etc) and look over the existing stuff. It’s been a while since I’ve done any research and it’ll take me a while to get back on top of things – if I can find time.
The final new thing to look out for in the future: there will be a new Hellhound in the next few months. Rosie is currently four weeks old (if I have my dates right). The result of an accidental mating of my sister’s Jack Russell and Shih-tzu (Yes, I’ve seen the obvious joke and I do find it very funny), Rosie will hopefully be joining us in four to eight weeks. I’m going to need to take some time off work to supervise introductions and that will probably dictate when she joins the pack.
And, to finish off today’s ramblings, there were two additions in the week before bootcamp to re-mention:
- I put up a new version of Order of Play, which indicates the latest Alex Jones has been allowed to live. I am still undecided whether to post it on the website or try to find a more suitable home for it.
- I posted a mention of the Smallsword Symposium IV, which has since been given a webpage of it’s own here: [External Link]. (Event page also updated.)