Thursday, April 8, 2010

Writing in Code and Other Topics

Time once more for Mama Kat's Writer's Challenge.

This weeks topics:
1.) Baby fever is in the air. Describe what you would do differently as a first time mom.
2.) What book captured your heart? Write about why the first book you loved is the first book you loved.
3.) Who is a bird-brain? Think about all the birds you’ve seen–from songbirds to hunters. Compare one or more people you know to different types of birds in a piece of writing.
4.) Why do we need 26? If you could change the alphabet, what would you do? Add? Subtract? Combine? Simplify? Write about it.
5.) Where does that fear come from? Write about something that frightens you that other people might find ridiculous. Write about it in a poem, a story, or whatever.
So off we go into the gloom and doom.

#1 - First Time Mom
I feel left out since I am clearly not the requisite gender to be a mom. Sexism is alive and well on the web!

#2 - Book O'My Heart
This has different answers depending on how you define first and love. (Sounds like a lawyer blithering, doesn't it?)

The book I loved and read often as a wee tyke is "Digger Dan", written by Patricia Lynn and illustrated by Si Frenkel.
Who can resist the story of the steam shovel that does so many interesting things? Besides, a book with my name on the cover - priceless. Thanks to my mom, I have this book around the house even now. The Son learned to read with it, but it just didn't have the same appeal to him as he was growing up as it did to me.

The first book that I read and fell in love with for the content and the way it was handled was also my first experience of the love of science fiction. The book was Robert Heinlein's "The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress"
followed closely by "Podkayne of Mars" by the same author.
Both books appealed to my pre-teen imagination with adventure, science, emotion, and youngsters thinking deeply and doing well in an adult world. I have both books in my library today and still enjoy reading them, despite the fact they are classified as Heinlein "Juveniles". They led me to other science fiction authors including Heinlein's opus, "Stranger In A Strange Land". It was a summer of intense joy and discovery as I read every science fiction book I could get from the library, my mind and horizons literally expanding with each new word. I'd love to go back to that time.

#3 - Bird of a Feather
(The name used here has no relationship to anyone in real life. If you want to get annoyed, remember it is all in *your* mind. {*grin*})

Long ago, I spent several years serving on an adjunct to the district school board known as the District Accountability Committee (DAC). The DAC did a lot of the detail and grunt work that was used by the school board to make decisions on curriculum, student accomplishment, building maintenance, etc. So we had the joy of seeing many members of the community during our meetings, almost invariably with something of great importance to them on their minds to impart to us.

It was during a DAC meeting that I saw Jim resemble a sage grouse to the point I was sure it had to be an act. You remember the sage grouse mating ritual? Where the male puffs up his chest and struts back and forth cooing and prancing to impress the female grouse. Well Jim pranced back and forth, fingers in his suspenders, chest jutting out through the whole of his speech before the committee. The only thing missing was the hen gallery to appreciate the performance.

#4 - Alphabet
I think 26 letters is too restrictive. We should switch to Mayan with close to 800 identified symbols. Of course as it turns out, there are considerably less 800 real letters. It seems the Mayans liked to represent the same sound by 6 or more different symbols. And then they went the extra step by combining several symbols into one common word/sound. But just think of the beautiful calligraphy and lack of repetition such a scheme makes possible. In any case, allow me to introduce a simple 52 letter roman alphabet mapping for your consideration:
Let me know when you have your message written. {*grin*}

#5 - Fear
Most things don't scare me. But one thing consistently gives me the falling sensation of riding a down elevator. You know, where it feels like your stomach has just crawled up your throat and is heading for the exit? Yeah, that one.

What causes the momentary swell of panic? Stepping close to something solid and not being able to see it. I.e. walking along a path with a cinder block on the edge and not being able to see the block as I pass. Why does this particular act cause that rush of fear and panic? Because after many years as a diabetic, I have lost a lot of sensation in my feet. So if I were to kick or hit the obstruction, the pain warning me to stop comes too late and I have already rammed my foot into the object and probably broken a few toes before the pain can warn me not to do that. It happens often enough that I get that panicky feeling in anticipation of the possible happenstance quite often.

How's that for a rational but seemingly irrational fear?


  1. #3 - I think I know that guy.
    #4 - I'm all for the roman alphabet, although I'm partial to Greek. I already know that one.

  2. #2 Yea Digger Dan!

    #5 Your sense of fear makes absolute sense.

  3. #3 Never seen a bird like that before but I can totally imagine what that guy looks like from your description!
    #4 Hmmm, I actually like using the roman alphabet. It's simple and easy to remember. Of course, I'm biased since I also have to deal with the Japanese and Chinese "alphabets" and having 3 different sets of alphabets to learn can really make your head hurt.
    #5 Elevators....*shiver*

  4. Hi Dan,

    Visiting from Mama Kat's.

    Great post, I wish I could write about all the prompts, I just don't have the imagination!

  5. I have a feeling I'd have a very different occupation if we all had to write in Mayan.
    And your fear seems perfectly logical to me. Unlike my bizarre fear of clowns and porcelain dolls...

  6. I have no artistic abilities, that alphabet would be beyond my meager skills (and would make me unable to touchtype, since I would have trouble distinguishing between the various illustrations).

    I don't think your fear is groundless - seems reasonable to me.

  7. Get out of here about the elevator! Interesting. I do know that stomach drop thing. It just never made me feel worried. I think I would feel nervous in the empire state elevator though. That thing is just crazy high!

    I am sure your message would make me laugh if I could figure it out!

    laughed about the sexism : )

  8. i loved digger dan despite the name. ;)

    and i can *just picture* the grouse act.

    well written post, all around.

  9. I'm all for drawing letters :) and I love the grouse!!

  10. What? Sexism? On the internet? No way! Someone call Digger Dan to the rescue!

  11. i'd love to know what you would recommend for first time fathers.

    i love the way you described your fear. I know that very stomach in your throat feeling of panic.

  12. Oooh, I love science fiction! Such a great genre! I've leaned more towards fantasy as I've continued through books, but it all started with some good scifi...

  13. "sage grouse" - OMG, between the picture and your description of the person, I had a flashback to an ex! LOL.

    Elevators ~ I have nightmares about them, no kidding!

  14. Wow, you really worked hard on this post--doing all the prompts! I'm lucky if I find one which I did--the one about fear.

    I have a nice long elevator ride at work--29 floors! It used to be 33 but now I'm on 29. Elevators don't bother me at all, as long as they don't get stuck with me in them.

    Visiting from Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop.

  15. I want to introduce my son to science fiction. I think that will finally get him reading!

  16. #5 Completely rational. The neuropathy has just started, so, I'm not really THERE, but yep, your fear is understandable!


You know you want to ... so just do it!!!

Related Posts Widget for Blogs by LinkWithin