I love writing. I’ve been a professional writer for 15 years, with articles, short fiction, and poetry published and broadcast. I also write for children, and Scholastic recently published my first book, Dragonflies are Amazing! If you’re interested, you will find writing samples, photos, and other material posted on my website (http://www.mepowell.com/). Or, see more about me here.
On these pages, I’ll write about creative writing and travel. If you have similar interests — please comment!
Once you get used to the hairpin turns and the sheer rock shoulders, driving in Wales is — well, something to write about. For many reasons.
We’re about to have our second driving experience in North Wales. When we drove those highways in 2006, we marveled at the Welsh-first, English-second highway signs. When the painted lettering says “now,” it means right now: there’s a 360-degree turn inside a rock tunnel ahead. No time for please and thank you.
North Wales highway Photo by L L Melton
We stayed in a self-catering cottage then, and the owner told us Welsh is the first language in schools again too. Some 80 percent of North Wales residents speak Welsh as their first language. Since speaking Welsh could get you beheaded some eight hundred years ago, when Edward I invaded, the resurgence of the language now says a lot about this tiny but invincible country. Bravo!
There were quite a few unusual signs for us to get used to, though.
Seniors crossing Photo by L L Melton
For instance, coming from Saskatchewan, we were used to the yellow “Deer Crossing” signs that warn motorists of potential hazards on the road. But we weren’t prepared for hazards like these. I confess, sometimes it was difficult to keep my eyes on the road.
Temple Bar Photo by L L Melton
Others seemed to suggest place names, but we couldn’t help agreeing with this one. I mean, if you’re going to put a temple and a bar in the same place, then the idea of proceeding slowly and carefully seems reasonable.
By and large, we didn’t have too much trouble understanding the signs along the highway, whatever language they used. But from time to time, we ran into a few that really impressed us.
Men walking children here Photo by L L Melton
Like this sign, for example. I have to say I think Welsh women have organized things pretty well. I wish there were more areas designated for men walking children here in Canada! The border around this sign should be green!
No one can fault the Welsh sense of humour either, on or off signs. And the friendly and helpful attitude is amply demonstrated on signs like this one:
A free hand Photo by L L Melton
How could you resist that smile?
Or the chance to drive through the beautiful countryside. I certainly can’t wait to go back to Wales again. Have you been to Wales — on or off the highways? Please leave a comment (on the comment bar above) about your experience.
I start each day by writing in a journal. I write three pages a day – well, most days. I started writing three pages because of The Artist’s Way, a book by Julia Cameron (http://juliacameronlive.com/). She calls these “Morning Pages” but I’ve done them at all times of the day – and night – and middle of the night when I can’t sleep.
I’m lucky there’s no such thing as the Journal Police.
People often say, “How can you write three pages a day? I wouldn’t have time for that.” But I’d have to agree with Cameron: I wouldn’t have time if I didn’t.
I write fiction, nonfiction, children’s books, and poetry. My fiction and poetry appear in literary magazines and anthologies. Traditional publishers (Scholastic and soon Red Line) publish my children’s books. And my nonfiction appears in more than 70 consumer and trade markets across Canada and internationally. And I’ve won awards in all of them. On top of this I hold down a busy day-job, I’ve founded a professional association (PWAC-SK), and I’m a productive member of two writing groups and several associations.
On days when I don’t journal, I don’t accomplish half as much. Frankly, sometimes my journals contain three pages of worry. Or three pages of affirmations – even the same affirmation repeated 10 times just to make sure I get it. Sometimes I need that to get on with my writing day. Often I will try a few freewriting exercises and often I find ideas for a story, poem, or novel I’m writing, or the kernel of an idea for next time.
Over the past few years I’ve had many different kinds of journals: fancy cloth covered ones, pint-sized notebooks with pretty pictures on the cover, plain black ones, you name it.
These days writing three pages every day means I’ve been buying the cheapest, most ordinary coil notebooks I can find. The outside doesn’t matter; the act of writing is all that counts.