Monday, February 25, 2013

Shinobi vs. Ninja in Newton

When I realized that my Friday afternoon talk at Bigelow Middle School was the last thing standing between 200 kids and their winter vacation, I was a little nervous. I was counting on a full scale revolt. Or at least a round of restless twitching in the audience. After a few stories about dinosaurs, fast furniture, flying cars and brain surgery, though, the students settled in just fine.

There were more than a few young writers in the crowd, and in case they're reading, I'd like to follow up with several of them:

To the two boys who were about to show me your funny story: I'd love to read it. As I told you, that's how I started out as a writer. My friends and I spun together ridiculous little tales in between class.

To the girl who wanted me to complete her story: We talked about this already, but that's your story, and you should finish it! I'm sure you'll do a better job of it than I could.

To the amateur ninja expert: Thanks for asking about my still-in-the-works ninja book. As we both know, ninjas were known as shinobi, and they didn't always dress in the black costumes we see today. They disguised themselves as farmers, merchants, and other everyday folk. In truth ninjas were more like spies than warriors. All these kinds of historical details will be part of the book, so check back here for updates, and thanks for coming up to say hello.

Finally, Mr. Mogenson, I think you should wear that jacket every day. And thanks for inviting me in to your wonderful school!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Visiting Martinson

Thank you to the fifth grade students and teachers at Martinson Elementary School for inviting me in for a few wonderful workshops earlier this month. I'm still waiting to see how your stories turn out! There were some great ideas, including a daring window entrance, hovering helicopters, and an octogenarian villain. The sensory details you all came up with were fabulous as well.

Given the recent blizzard, and the days off from school, I'm hoping a few of you managed to finish. (Although I imagine the tree lovers among you couldn't climb up to your favorite writing spot.) If you do write those last few lines, don't forget to send me a copy. And remember: revise, revise, revise.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Spacecraft Everlasting

A short but interesting story in Discover magazine about whether the Voyager 1 spacecraft has reached the edge of the solar system, plus some news about the nearly ancient Pioneer probes. I couldn't fit this into the piece itself, but a few of the scientists noted that the real news here might be that these spacecraft are still working. They were launched in the 1970s and designed even earlier. That's pretty amazing engineering.

What did I forget? Ah, right, the story. Read it here.