Contributors: Suyi Davies Okungbowa, Dolly Garland, Mark Isles and Steph Bianchini
Setting: Trigonos Centre, Nantlle Valley, Wales
In the beautiful Trigonos centre, under the cover of clouds and rains and occasional bursts of sunshine, fifteen writers gathered together for one week of respite from the regular world. It is understood that most of what happens in Trigonos, stays in Trigonos. But for posterity purposes and for future generations we write this report to give a flavour of some of the things that transpired at Milford 2017. We thank Val Nolan for (unwittingly) donating his story-style for the creation of this document.
Dolly Garland (First generation recipient of the writers of colour bursary & all-around troublemaker): When a fellow Milfordian you’ve never met agrees to give you a lift from London and willing to spend four plus hours in a car with you, you know these folks are all right. Or possibly that you may end up in a car with a complete nutcase. Susan Oke thankfully wasn’t a nutcase. I am not sure if she can say the same about me. The whole week devoted to thinking only about writing has been a sheer luxury. There has been high quality work, great productivity, mind-blowing conversations and sheer lunacy. Muddy trousers too, as I battled imaginary orks during a trip to Mordor (aka slate quarry) with Vaughan Stanger, and traversed across the landscape to map out the lake on my fitbit. And while attempting to play a joke on Phil Suggars, I ended up being on the Milford committee to help out with social media. Tiffani Angus called it karma. I regret calling her wise now.
Suyi Davies Okungbowa (Youngest Milfordian this year, recipient of writers of colour bursary, aspiring beardgang member, snitch on the weekends–if Dolly’s to be believed): There’s got to be one Dolly in every room, I guess; every gathering needs that energy, and Dolly really packs it. Though the other thirteen also bring different aspects of themselves to the table, there’s three things all fifteen of us can agree about the trifecta of Milford + Trigonos + Nantlle: the views are breathtaking, the food turns out to be absolutely fabulous, and everyone’s real kind and thoughtful and awesome (even during crits!)
Steph P. Bianchini (One of four New Milfordians of 2017. She watched too much SF Horror as a kid): Somebody should inform prospective Milfordians about the real and substantial dangers of induced insomnia. They’re real even if in your home settings you sleep as a baby (I do). Instead, here you’ll probably spend many nights checking out your phone or staring at your ceiling. No, they don’t put anything strange in your food (you wish), and the sky doesn’t offer many opportunities for deep-sky observations (it might, not being so clouded). It’s that your brain, after the hyperstimulation of the day, stubbornly refuses to switch off and keeps going into loops as if it were at a holiday theme park. Things get even worse if you have a critique the day after: last night, I briefly considered Val Nolan’s Immortal Hero Pillow Cryo-Option, deciding straight away it was not such a good idea (no tentacles). I decided to settle for the mammoth “Games-of-Thrones-in-Mediaeval-History” The Accursed Kings: endless descriptions of XIII century French brocade dresses do work miracles with tired minds. Consider yourself warned, and bring over your more abstruse and boring texts of choice for emergency sleeping remedies.
Sara K. Ellis (First time Milfordian channeling messages from Trigonos toaster, now reimagining itself as a haiku generator).
That cake on the board
Brown, smelling of cinnamon
All those chocolates
Time spell overheard
War breaks out over warm toast
It’s burnt anyway
Crowding on the steps
Hope no one crop dusts and leaves
We’ll know who it is
The last crit is done
Robot has midlife crisis
Oh, that slidey eye
Mark Iles (Milford virgin and relative of Uncle Albert from ‘Only Fools and Horses’ – constantly dreaming of cheeseburgers)
Rarely eating chocolate I came bouncing full of joy to Milford only to find myself recovering from a self-induced chocolate overdose, severe insomnia, and now an aversion to cake. If I never see a slice of the latter again I’ll be a happy man. I have to admit to having extreme fantasies of chicken and steak … then more chicken. Just not chocolate covered…
The Overlords: From the contributions above it seems that this Milford malarkey may be worth continuing with. Perhaps by talking to one another about dragons and spaceships, these weirdos may get it out of their systems, and spare the outside world. Of course there is always the risk that it could go the other way and they may end up egging each other on and move on to time travel and women who lead battles. But it’s a risk we are willing to take, because at least by putting them in one place, we know where to find them.