O, Confusing Cornwall
To some you are the bee's-knees, to others, you are a little backward. Now, I think you're the bee's-knees all covered in honey; if government ever passed a bill for geographical marriage, you would be my spouse. Never-the-less, I cannot pretend that one time on The One Show didn't happen, that time when they were here with "the Cornish folk" and I suddenly pictured a creation of Tolkien. I believe Shakespeare once wrote: Be not afraid of Cornishness, some are born Cornish, some achieve Cornishness and some have Cornishness thrust upon them. Or something along those lines, I think it may have gone through a re-edit, I'm not entirely sure.
So what exactly is Cornishness, if not a little misunderstood?
'Cornish' is not only a people, but a culture; a way of living that you won't find anywhere else in the UK. It is a combination of creativity and drive with a few unofficial siestas thrown in (usually at the pub). I could preach at you the wonders of Cornwall all day, though that could have very different outcomes. Either you'll love it and explore it, or you'll find my incessant romantic dictations really rather annoying and spend the duration of this article mentally punching me in the face. I get the feeling it'll be the latter.
So, I have a confession to make. Even though we live in a land of mind-blowing, tear-jerking wonder, I perhaps dedicate a little too much time to escaping...
I'm having a moment of pondering so bear with me a moment. Listening to some truly beautiful sounds emitting from the radio (Cerys Matthews on a Sunday morning usually has this affect on me), I struggle to find a moment when I wasn't oh-so-snuggly cocooned in someone else's fantasy. Life is safe when you spend it in a narrative that is not your own. You are freed from the burden of decision making; no energy is wasted with reacting to a sudden environmental change. You can gently ride it out and find some plenitude in entertainment. So I set myself a challenge that perhaps you may be interested in. It's quite simple really; rid yourself from all forms of creative culture, indulge in no narrative other than your own. So I start. No radio, no television, no video games, no books, no newspapers, no internet, no art and no culture. It's just me, in my space, with nought but my clothes and my senses. The first hour I spend sat in silence and polish off a colossal amount of tea. Time slows and I'm one more bored sigh away from giving in and and going off to save the galaxy from an imminent Reaper threat.
So I dust off the old walking boots that I bought after watching too much Attenborough and walked without the now essential music and phone. I find the streets strangely silent. With my ears less occupied my eyes take over and it feels like I've finally done it! I've eaten the apple and I can see for what seems like the first time in a long while. Light bounces off the rugged granite houses, illuminated characteristic white and ancient grey that will long outlive me. I venture further out of the village and into the wild coastline. It's littered with ruins long forgotten and yet ever present; I give in to its magnetism. There is a bench and a memorial, people died here providing for their family. I take a pew and look into the empty void of sea and sky. It's calming to the point of thoughtlessness and I've accidentally started meditating.
Having finally escaped suggestion, finally escaped the narratives of others. I find myself immersed in the most intense breath of fresh air that I have ever experienced. My own mind begins to wander, creating characters, dialogues, visuals. I create my own narrative in moments; take my characters on a journey I wish could only be mine. I hold onto the idea for dear life as I hurry home in the pursuit of a pen and begin to write. Who knows, perhaps one day I can share my narrative with you.
Cornwall is many different things to many different people, but for me, Cornwall is inspiring.
Go, explore, and find out what it can do for you.
Disclaimer - do not trust the author with Shakespearian quotes.