August 21, 2012


Each Tuesday, rather than a POSSIBLY IRRITATING ESSAY, I'd like to both challenge you and lend a helping hand. I generate more speculative and teen story ideas than I can ever use. My family rolls its collective eyes when I say, "Hang on a second! I just have to write down this idea..." Here, I'll include the initial inspiration (quote, website, podcast, etc) and then a thought or two that came to mind. These will simply be seeds -- plant, nurture, fertilize, chemically treat, irradiate, test or stress them as you see fit. I only ask if you let me know if anything comes of them. (BTW – it’s school time! For the next few weeks I might get behind on my posts as school, schedules and rebooting the OLD work-a-day takes precedence over posting – Bruce Bethke calls it: The Rule of Otogu! (Other Things Of Greater Urgency)...

F Trope: transmutation (reference:
“Transmutation circle, a circle used to perform alchemy” I think I’m going to mine THIS idea in various ways for a while!

Alchemy is thought to have been the deepest roots of the science we know as chemistry. As such, it had its origins in many, many cultures – from Pharaonic and Hellenic Egypt, Eighth Century Arabia (the name “chemistry” comes from an Arabic word, al-kimia), Medieval and Renaissance Europe, India, and China – then matured into the science.

Ishaq ibn Musa and Meitreyi Nur Jehan are friends at Obama Middle School. Ishaq – who tries really hard to go by the nickname, IM – was skimming TreeFlicks (3D online streaming videos) when he downloaded a flik of a person drawing a transmutation circle.

He got the measurements and veeked – visually communicated – with Meity J and told her to meet him at a nearby playground after school...

Meity waited for Immy with her arms folded over her chest. It was cold today, even though it was late August. “So much for Anthropogenic Global Cooling,” she muttered. She veeked him again, but he wasn’t answering.

Suddenly someone behind her shouted, “Boo!”
Meity J turned around and said, “It’s not even close to Halloween yet Immy.”

He grunted and said, “Who spat in your bean curd?”

“No one! It’s just that I have a hundred things to do before school starts next Tuesday!”

“Like what? We’re just starting a new school. Nothing’s going to be different...”

“Except in high school, we might actually get to see a physical teacher!”

He grunted and put down a small plastic bucket. His jacket bulged in odd directions, as if he were carrying packages underneath. “That has about as much of a chance happening as me turning you into an oriole.”

“Orioles are extinct,” she said, irritated that he chose NOW to pick on her favorite extinct animal. “That was really mean of you.”

“What,” he said, straightening up, “If I told you I could turn a pigeon into an oriole?”

“I’d say, ‘fat lot of good that will do the species!’ You can’t repopulate a species with one bird, stupid!”

With a flourish, he reached under his jacket and pulled out a plastic box. Inside, something brilliantly orange and black squirmed. He said, “What if you had one male and one female?” He popped the top off and an oriole – the first one Meity J had seen since she was a kindergartner and her director had used query markers on colorful birds to lead the class to a discussion about ‘extinction’ – flew out. He removed another box. This one had a pigeon in it.

“What are you going to do with that thing?”

He grinned, set the box down and started clearing a circle on the concrete game square. “We’re going to make a transmutation square and start making orioles out of pigeons!”

Meity J scowled for a bit, then said…

1 comment:

Mary said...

1) Otogu just sounds like a place in New Zealand.