OFFERING UP HIS 10 CENTS’ WORTH
A dime doesn’t buy much anymore.
But it can get you the latest work from the unofficial poet laureate of a small town in Nova Scotia.
Russell Welsh hits downtown Antigonish often — in all kinds of weather — on foot, pedaling his three-wheeled Schwinn bicycle, selling his 10-cent poems. The price is negotiable.
His literary journey began almost 30 years ago. There have been many highlights. He’s raised more than $20,000 for the Schizophrenia Society of Nova Scotia through the sale of bookmarks adorned with his words.
Where does he get the ideas, the inspiration?
“Off the top of my head,” he chuckles.
“I just sit down, start with one word and go from there.”
Simple tools: paper and pen.
A recent piece about Debbie Harry, lead singer of the 1970s band Blondie, is a perfect example of his eclectic material.
“There are an awful lot of subjects that I can breach upon,” he said, a sense of wonderment in his voice.
The White-tailed Deer, one of his earlier poems, has a special place.
“That will always be my best poem,” he said.
His literary works also include 200 mini stories. He dubs them “Canadian science-fiction horror comedies.”
“The idea is to take the edge off horror – to make it too ridiculous to believe, yet somehow frightening,” he explains.
Welsh recently reached a milestone – more than 101,000 “art pieces sold.”
“I am really proud of it.” The money made: “peanuts.” The greater, more important, value is sharing his work.
“It is about getting the art out there.”
He is happy and thankful for the support he’s received from family, including his mother, brother and two sisters, along with the people of Antigonish.
The wordsmith uses simple, yet powerful words to express his gratitude.
Russell Welsh writes while having his morning coffee at the Tall and Small Café in downtown Antigonish.