Friday, April 03, 2009

Six Roundabouts and a Bridge

Roundabouts are a logical way of dealing with several roads coming together in one place. I struggle with the underlying logic of having roads running into each other. I am from Indiana. I grew up in a land defined by a surveyor and laid out for the most part in a Cartesian grid. Roads were straight and usually stayed that way. And also they were flat.

So after 4 years I have learned how to drive on the wrong side of the road, shifting with my kleft hand, I might add, and I have driven several times now over the hairpin curve of the Berriedale Braes without going into a panic, a case of vertigo, or over the edge of the precipice.

Yesterday, however, was a new personal best for my driving up here. I did not one or two roundabouts, or rotaries as they are called in Massachusetts, but 6--with one very large bridge and a trip over the Braes thrown in for good measure.

I drove all the way to the big city of Inverness.

Ironically, whenever I speak of going to Inverness the first question people ask is "Are you going shopping?" That is also logical because there are many things that are just not available here 120 miles north of the self-styled capital of the Highlands. But shopping is not recreation for me and I have reached the stage in my life where I am trying to de-clutter. Instead I went to Inverness for my writing habit.

I attended a free (to me) workshop on travel writing. Hugh Taylor, experienced travel writer and great storyteller, spent a day showing nine writer wannabes how to do it. The group ranged from very experienced writers in other genres to two closet writers and a young student. I put myself in the middle now that I have 11 published articles. Well, OK, just barely above the bottom, but if you make it into the usual published vs non-published, then I could count myself with the people who know their craft.

More to the point, it was a good crowd, and we worked hard. All the questions I had about travel writing were answered: where do you find it, where do you get ideas, how do you do it, how much do you get paid, and so on. Also, it pushed me in the direction of answering the BIG QUESTION--Can I do it? With hands on exercises, we all took that first step toward becoming real travel writers: we generated our own ideas and after a lunch time walk to find our own story idea, put pen to paper and drafted an opening paragraph, which Hugh evaluated, making some editing suggestions and offering much encouragement.

And then it was time to face the 6 roundabouts and bridge and Braes and head back North.

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At 9:29 PM, Anonymous ampiggy said...

hooray for you! both for the 6 roundabouts and a bridge and the travel writing. I think you'll be fabulous at it.

At 8:21 AM, Blogger landgirl said...

Hee, hee, well Ms Piggy imagine my coming back to Indianapolis as a foreign correspondent. Whaddya think of that?

At 1:08 AM, Anonymous ampiggy said...

oh, wild and woolly and wonnnnerful! You will have the understanding of a native and the perspective of a foreigner! I love the idea.


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