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I could hear the Elan Valley calling for me...

Once you become alienated from your surroundings, slowly you’d become more introverted. You’d start searching for your desire to belong in Nature; starting on the mountains, spreading to the meadows, branching out the trees, and becoming a bridge between the melody of the culture you were not born to and yourself.  Nature determines the belonging on behalf of you and you take sanctuary in your new culture: not upsetting you; not betraying your trust; not making any surprises.  From then on, to belong would mean rhythm, and finds oneself in nature. When you can't find words, you learn the language of Nature. The wind, mountains,
  rain, land…

Everything started on Facebook. One night I was checking my Facebook page and one of my friends had shared information about the Elan Valley fellowship. Normally if it is some application there I always ignore it. It doesn’t matter what it is. But when I read about the fellowship and saw Elan Valley picture in spite of myself my heart start running for excitement. It will be a huge privilege for me to live in the Elan Valley with only the natural world; no TV, internet, mobile reception and other trappings of modern life. The fellowship talking about my dream...  Elan Valley could be heaven for me… I always want to leave in the middle of nowhere in  Powys or North Wales and… I got so excited. I was 51 years old and for the first time in my life, I wanted to fill out an application form even if it is in English!

I definitely wanted to go there but at the same time, it was very hard for me to finish that application and also I was aware that if I get shortlist then I have to be interviewed and the thought was a nightmare for me… But I want this opportunity desperately so I ignore all my fear and ask for help from my partner and my friends.

Is Aspie woman even to fill out a very simple application form is very hard for me. My brain suddenly freezes as if I can’t understand any word in any language.  Andy, Memet Ali, Ben and Glesni helped me finish my application. Then I received an email confirming they got my application, even when I saw this email I got so excited. I was in France when I learned I was on the shortlist. I shouted I sang, I danced, I was so happy like a five year old girl because I was getting close to my dream. But I have to make a presentation about my project and the panel will be asked questions about my presentation and myself. As an Aspie whole process about my presentation was hell for me, actually not only for me but also for my partner, Memet Ali and Ben were affected by my anxiety and my bad temper. I tried to control myself but it was impossible for me. Usually, I would have given up but this time I kept going. I really want to go and live in Elan Valley. So thank you to everyone around me for helping and supporting me to achieve my dream.

Before my presentation day, I couldn’t sleep and I was so nervous, I felt a panic attack was coming but when I met all the panel, I felt calm. I felt safe and able to explain my project. On the same day, we visit the cottage in Elan Valley and I love it. It was perfect, like my new magical home where I would spend six whole months. I felt like I had entered a fairytale or like I am able to create my own fairytale there. There were three people on the shortlist and after our presentation, we had to wait for the announcement…  It was very hard for me to wait…

When I learned I was awarded the fellowship I was so happy and excited. I cried, I was shouting, I was running… Again I felt five years old but a very happy five year old. You see, the panel not only gave me the fellowship, but they also made my dreams come true by granting me such an amazing opportunity.

My latest play, Y Brain/Kargalar, is about nature, belonging and identity. It toured across Wales twice and was also performed in London and Cambridge where each night sold out. It is a dramatization of an inner dialogue with myself while walking in the woods, written in Welsh and Turkish and performed by two actresses.

Part of one review said “This is an unashamedly lyrical piece, even as it touches on dark themes, bereavement, exile, isolation. The title refers to crows, symbolic both of avian freedom and bleak omens; this is reflected in Lauren Orme’s video backdrop”

With this play, I tried to explore my deep, yet inexplicable, connection with Wales and better understand my sense of belonging to this place.  Following my two tours of Wales with Y Brain, I spoke to many women, some of whom asked why we can not come walking with you and connect with ourselves in the process. I had in mind a project to do this when I saw the opportunity presented by the Elan Valley fellowship which provides the perfect place for this project.

We have to remember where we belong, as participants in the natural world. The women who join me to walk in the Elan Valley will focus on the wildness of the landscape and the mystical, ancient past.  I will say them to focus on nature and leave behind whatever ideological, racial or religious differences there might be, to liberate themselves from the “logic” of the herd to discover the right to think and express themselves freely, just like nature does.

I will stay in Elan Valley for six months this year. I’ll separate this year into sailing and staying in Elan Valley. İf I stay two months in Elan Valley then the next two months I’ll be in Karisma (our boat) for sailing. If I stay for one month in Elan Valley the next month I’ll stay in Karisma, so I already planned all my year beforehand.

I have always explained my observations and feelings through writing. This project has pushed and inspired me to create this blog, something I have been meaning to do but not found the time until now. I will post once a week and in this section, you will read what my project is, what I and my guest are doing in Elan Valley. How nature affects our emotions and our creativity. Sometimes my guest will write about their experience in Elan Valley too. But because we haven’t got the internet there you will read everything one month behind.

Sometimes because of our emotions, we find ourselves beyond the routine of our reality that makes things feel surreal 


Skip Conover said…
This sounds amazing and useful, and reminds me of Dr. Jung’s desire to be in retreat at Bollingen. At also makes me muse on whether he himself might have been on the Asberger’s spectrum. I look forward to this very much!

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