I’ve been teaching a kids’ playwriting workshop the past few weeks and yesterday my teaching partner couldn’t be there so I had the class all to myself, which is potentially terrifying, except that I’ve somehow been granted the seven most amazing children on the planet and they are funny and creative little genius angels who listen well and just really want to write plays. So even though the venue where we teach was overrun with noisy actors (they were holding auditions in another room) and also the ceiling was leaking and we ended up in a room that had a prop sword lying around, my kids were focused and well-behaved and one of them even suggested a class activity that went over so well that I am going to use it every single time I teach anything ever again. (It’s called “High/Low”, and it’s basically a group check-in – you go around the circle and everyone shares a high from their week and a low.)

I’ve also been working on the second draft of a play, which means I’ve had a headache for the past month. I’ve been frustrated and cranky and trying to force it out.

And yesterday in class, while everyone was scribbling away in their playwriting notebooks, 8-year-old R. looks up at me and says “I’m having so much fun writing this!”

So today I finally finished my damn second draft and then went and had an ice cream sundae. There’s more than one way to make writing fun, you know!

It’s no secret that I’m a mega book nerd. And so it should come as a surprise to no one that my favourite place, per capita (does that even make sense? I don’t care), is Hay-on-Wye, a Welsh town where the main industry is used book stores.

I wrote about my brain-melting trip there in the National Post.

Some things about Hay-on-Wye that didn’t make it into my story:

Murder and Mayhem, the bizarre, experiential crime and mystery bookstore, is owned by the same people who run Addyman books across the street. On the day we were there, Murder and Mayhem was empty and locked, so the woman at Addyman came across the street to let us in, and then locked us in to browse among the Sherlock Holmes paraphernalia and weird mannequins.

Like her.

I still regret not buying this Miami Vice novelization.

My friend Nanna had no such regrets, however: she came away with a pristine copy of this old school Royal Wedding pop-up book. (She didn’t make the video, though, it’s the work of a kindred stranger whose love for kitsch matches ours.)

In short, there are books EVERYWHERE. Down alleyways, in courtyards, on front lawns. Hay-on-Wye is just the best.

Last night I saw a young woman do something simple, yet ingenious with her hamburger. If not life-altering, it was at least a burger-altering experience. She dug a small trench in the inside of the top half of the bun (she called it her “condiment boat”), filled it with ketchup, mustard, and mayo, and only then did she attempt to balance the bun on top of the rest of the burger. Only it didn’t need to balance. And when she pressed down to take the first bite, condiments didn’t ooze all over the place like they do when I eat a burger. Because of the extra space created in the top half of the bun, this woman achieved some of the tidiest burger eating I’ve ever seen, with nary a drop of ketchup wasted.

Genius.