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A conversation, a reading assignment, a writing exercise, and a re-run #5

A conversation:

Cinder: What does humanitarian mean? Is it someone who eats only humans?

Sean: Um… what?

Cinder: You know, like vegetarian means someone who eats vegetables?

Sean: No. It’s someone who… cares a lot about humanity—about humans.

Cinder: Oh.

Pause.

Cinder: Well, that makes a lot more sense.

July 31, 2012

A reading assignment that will change your life:

Anne Lamott’s Bird By Bird. She’s going to tell you about the magic of shitty first drafts.

 

A writing exercise to do when you’re utterly stuck, kinda bored, and only have ten minutes:

Open a book, any book. Page 77. Sixth sentence. Got it? Type it into Google translator + copy it into your notebook. Translate into Japanese. Then copy the Japanese text. Translate it back into English. Copy it into your notebook. Don’t laugh. Repeat with Dutch. Repeat with another language. Repeat once, twice more.

Now… write a few paragraphs about the absurdity of translation…

 

An explanation:

This is the fifth week of my 12-week unplugged AWOL (don’t tell my clients… um or too many of my friends ;) ). No phones, no wifi… also, no winter! I’m going to be documenting things old school via journals and postcards (if you want a postcard from… well, that place where I’m hiding… email your snail mail address to nothingbythebook@gmail.com).

The blog’s on auto-pilot with a conversation from the archives, a reading recommendation, a writing assignment (cause I can’t nag any of you in person), and unsolicited advice… er, that is, a re-run post of the kind I don’t write very often anymore. Except, the one today, is mostly just fun.

Enjoy.

 

A re-run:

House Rule #713, or, why we don’t host a lot of dinner parties

 (first published April 12, 2012)

Sean: Gaaah! My children are grossing me out!

Jane: What?

Sean: They’re playing with vermin! While I’m eating lunch!

Jane: Oh… Flora, do you have to change the meal worms’ bedding right now?

Flora: Yes. Because I’m supposed to do it every Sunday, and I didn’t have any Raisin Bran yesterday.

Cinder: Do the meal worms eat the raisins?

Flora: No, I’m picking out the raisins.

Sean: Didn’t you specifically tell me to buy the Raisin Bran?

Flora: Yes. The raisins are for me.

Jane: Ender! You can’t eat your turkey wrap if you’re playing with the meal worms. Here, give it to me.

Sean: New house rule. No eating while playing with vermin.

Cinder: Good one. How many does that make?

Jane: I don’t know. 713.

Cinder: Huh. I remember when we just had one.

Flora: Really? Which was was that?

Cinder: Pants at the table. Mom put it in place after the penis in scalding soup incident.

Jane: You remember that?

Cinder: Do you think I’ll ever forget?

Sean: Flora! There is a meal worm crawling towards my plate!

PS We have 24 meal worms–beetle larvae–living in our kitchen because a neighbour gave them to Flora. We’re getting him a kitten next week. Cause apparently that’s the new way we’re showing each other love in our neighbourhood. By giving our children pets. Patrick, you’ve been warned.

Mealworms (Tenebrio molitor larvae)

Mealworms (Tenebrio molitor larvae) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)