Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Deep, Blueberry Cupcakes, and Alternate Energy Sources

Inspiration for baking and writing

Younger Daughter has admonished me that I have not posted enough on my blog.  July is turning out to be just as insanely busy as June was in the Common Household.  My emotional state varies between solid and despairing, based on what I hear on the news.  I can't bring myself to write about it.
My niece is visiting.  On Sunday we did find time to do writing challenges (instructions are described here), even though I really should have been doing work or writing a sermon or cleaning off my desk.  So in lieu of me actually writing something, I will post our writing challenge results.

1.  Writing prompt:  deep.  Write for 5 minutes on this prompt.
Our first challenge is derived from Younger Daughter's 11th grade English class.  At the end of the year, the teacher gives each student a one-word prompt, and students have to write for forty minutes on that prompt.  YD's prompt in class was "Ice."  She wrote almost an entire blue book. That's why, for our writing challenge at home, I put a firm five-minute limit on our efforts.

2. Write about a non-food use for blueberry cupcakes
Our second challenge came about because we had made blueberry cupcakes earlier in the day, using blueberries that we picked ourselves.  We ate most of the blueberries raw (oh, SO good!), but decided to bake cupcakes while listening to selections from the musical "Hamilton."  A very educational experience.  We got so engrossed in the music that we almost forgot to put in the vanilla.

3. Write about a new alternate source of energy.
Our third challenge attempts to tackle an important problem for today's world.

As always with our writing challenges, you are invited to write you own, if you so desire.  And just in case you actually read these, I want to add the caveat that these are unpolished and unedited.

1. Writing prompt:  deep.  Write for 5 minutes on this prompt.

Writer 1 wrote:
            No one really knows what happens in the depths of the ocean.  Strange forms of life arise, like aliens, and dwell under the pressure of miles of murky water.  Sunlight is unknown to their kind.  Tentacles writhe, hungry for unsuspecting prey.  Light exists only as a bioluminescent lure, a cruel deception.  Humans, who think they rule the Earth, hold no sway in those deep waters. While they walk unsuspecting on land, the creatures below plot and scheme their demise.  One day, they will rise up, and a new kind of civilization will begin.

Writer 2 wrote:
            In the darkest depths of the ocean in the farthest lengths of the sea, there is a blackness that extends for miles upon miles underneath the waters.  The strangest creatures, creations of God’s nightmares brought to life upon waking, were sent here to scrape out a fakery of life.  No human has come here.  Even light fears to tread here.  The pressure is too great, the depths too sullen and cold, the deep heartless and lonely, to allow any creature with even a resemblance of a heart to live there.
            This is the deep of lore, a place of krakens and sea behemoths, with the barest of scientific understanding giving rise to a folklore of animosity.  This is the deep of our fictions, of Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, of Atlantis, of Grecian maps.  But, it is not the deep of the truth.

Writer 3 wrote:
My son asks, “If there is an infinite hole, is it surrounded by infinite dirt?”  How deep is that infinite hole?  How deep is his question?
            It is a luxury to be able to think deeply about important questions. It takes time, and it requires that one’s basic needs are already met.  Most of us go through our day not thinking too deeply about the larger questions of life.  Otherwise, we’d never remember to fill up the gas tank, pick up the bread on the way home, or feed the cat.  But to us humans it is necessary for us to, sometimes, think more deeply than “The answer to the meaning of life is 42.”

2. Write about a non-food use for blueberry cupcakes.

Writer 1 wrote:
            The Wizard of the Purple Tower hovered nervously at his cauldron.  This potion was a complicated one, and his fate depended on it.  If he could not produce the magic elixir of flight, he would never escape from his tower.  He spared a single glance out the window at the army waiting below.  He would never have admitted it to his rivals, the Wizards of the Red and Yellow Towers, but his magic was not powerful enough to defeat an army.  But now, freedom was almost within his grasp.  The potion needed but one more crucial ingredient.  He turned to his assistant.  “Have you prepared the cupcakes?”
            His assistant, a short bald man wearing a flowery apron, proudly held out a tray of the requested desserts.  “Fresh out the oven, Your Wizardness!”
            “I thought I told you not to call me that,” the wizard growled as he snatched the tray from his assistant’s oven-mitted hands.  He tilted the tray of cupcakes into the cauldron, itching with impatience for the final result.  Soon, the power of flight would be his!  Freedom, and revenge, once he escaped!
            His triumphant inner thoughts were interrupted by a small cough.  He spun around and leveled a glare at the assistant.
            “Excuse me, Your Wizardness, but perhaps I should tell you… you see, this isn’t really the right season for blueberries, and, well, I thought blackberries would taste just fine.  I’m sure it’s not important…” His voice trailed off as he saw the wizard’s face.  Slowly, the Wizard of the Purple Tower sank to the floor in despair.  “What have you done?” he moaned.  Beside him, the contents of the pot began to gurgle furiously, and then all at once, exploded.
            Future travelers would pause at the spot and marvel at the half-destroyed tower that was once home to a great wizard.

Writer 2 wrote:
            “Maria, don’t you know those cupcakes up on Garlam Street are simply the best?”
            “Oh, I know!  I’ve been hearing about them for ages, but I’ve never been able to get ahold of one!  Have you?”
            “Oh, no, dear, certainly not.  By the way, did you hear…”
            The cupcakes up on Garlam Street were known around town as the best in the business, sweet and succulent and full of fresh-picked blueberries.  They were widely regarded as the best in Virginia, and probably in all the colonies. The problem was, so few could get ahold of them.  You would see a group, carrying the cupcakes home to their husbands and children, and then the bakery would not respond.  The cupcakes are sold out, they would say.  You could demand to see their ovens, whereupon they would gladly show you the empty slabs and cooling fire pits.  You could threaten them, bribe them, cajole them, but there was nothing to be done.  Once that group had gone by, there was no chance for anyone.  The best cupcakes in the entire colony of America were gone.
            One woman, Antoinette, had been waiting for these cupcakes for years.  She’d gone to the bakery before dawn, stayed there all day, and still come away empty-handed.  Yet, there was that group, the same wives walking along the same path carrying the same cupcakes every single day.
            Antoinette, in her desperation, went up to them one day.  “Please, ladies, if you could just let me have a bite, a crumb, a smidgen of those blueberry cupcakes!” she cried out. 
            The women shook their heads.  “I’m sorry,” one said.  “We can’t open the box, or we would let you have some.” 
            “What!  If you can’t open the box, how do you eat the cupcakes?!”Antoinette demanded to know.  “Please!  At least let me look at them!”
            The women glanced around, nervous.  Then, one said, “Okay.”  “What?  Are you mad?” someone admonished from behind the group, but the first woman waved her away.  “Quick, behind this building here.”
            She dragged Antoinette to behind the local British armory, where all the guns and bullets for the war were kept.  And slowly, slowly, she opened the box…
                                                B O O M !
            A great victory was won for the revolution, as the best cupcakes in all the United States blew up one of the largest supply bases for the British.  Oh, and also the whole town, but that doesn’t matter very much, right?
            The End.

Writer 3 wrote:
During the baking of government blueberry cupcakes, at the large ovens owned by NASA, the scientists set up huge fans to waft the aroma of the cupcakes out into space.  This is because Dr. Krakatoa has a theory that blueberry cupcakes attract aliens from the planet Arduwan in the Nebulous Galaxy.  The Arduwans have a wealthy store of carbon-free energy.  Dr. Krakatoa hopes to trade the blueberry cupcake aroma for Arduwan energy, thus providing an environmentally sound source of energy for the earth for decades to come.  We think this is like trading the island of Manhattan for 30 duck feathers.  The main result of NASA’s efforts in this arena have been a massive shortage of blueberries and a drastic increase in insanity among us earthlings, from smelling the blueberry cupcake aroma but not being able to eat the cupcakes.  We are calling for armed insurrection to begin at dawn.

3. Write about a new alternate source of energy.

Writer 1 wrote:
Once, in a dying land, the lives of bees were threatened.  They grew sick and fell from the sky, leaving hives abandoned.  Then the people of that land cried out in despair, and set to work.  They built new homes for the bees and learned to use the energy of their motion within the hive.  It took much work, but soon every home hummed with beehive generators and the once-sick land flowed with honey.  The hum of bees replaced the hum of electrical generators.  The people learned to live with bee stings, and were content.

Writer 2 wrote:
            The wheels squeaked as the hamster ran, sounding in a rhythmic pattern that soothed those who worked with it, and grated on the nerves of those visiting it.  The group of visiting students tried not to show their annoyance.  After all, this was a very unusual opportunity.  The Tyrant of Hamster Energy, or THE, would be showing them around the hamster cages personally, and it would not be proper to displease the THE, even if he did happen to be a little late.
            Ah!  Speak of the devil!  The THE arrived in a sparkling uniform, proudly showing a tiny hamster pin on his lapel.  “Wonderful!  A new group of recruits, ready to start work at the greatest energy company in the world!”  He spun, facing the students with an uncomfortable smile on his face.  “Or, at least, they think they are.  You!” He pointed at one of the students, who jumped. “Why did we switch to hamster energy?”
            “Ummm….” the student shivered in the face of the THE.  “Efficiency.”
            “WRONG!” The THE slammed his hand into his palm.  “Hamster energy is possibly the least efficient energy source in the world!  It requires gigawatts put in just to break even!  And no, it’s not cost-effective, either,” he added, causing those students who had been nervously hopeful to slowly lower their hands.  Only one remained raised.  The THE pointed.
            “And you, young lady.  Do you know why we switched to hamster energy?”
            “Cuteness, sir,” she replied calmly.
            The THE gesticulated wildly.  “Yes!  Exactly! Cuteness was exactly what we needed in the energy business, so cuteness was what we got!”

Writer 3 wrote:
            Scientists are working feverishly to bring to market a new, exciting source of energy based on the wriggling of earthworms.  In one day, the wriggling of one earthworm can generate the energy equivalent of 1.3 gallons of gasoline.  This new technology could be a bonanza for the world, if only the scientists could figure out a way to stop the earthworms from their suicidal journey out to pavement after a rainstorm.  The other hurdle that needs to be overcome is to find a way to keep earthworms happy.  A happy earthworm is a wriggling earthworm.  Earthworms with a positive outlook on life generate 41% more energy than morose earthworms.  This is likely to create a vibrant job market for earthworm psychologists in the next few years.

Writer 1 is Older Niece
Writer 2 is Younger Daughter

Writer 3 is The Common Household Mom


Karen (formerly kcinnova) said...

Those are great! I had you pegged (writing about your son helped, I admit) but not knowing your niece meant I couldn't differentiate between the two girls. Well done, all!

Maureen Profeta said...

Most enjoyable. Thank you for taking the time to post these.

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

I knew yours!
Love the drift from expository to narrative in all of your writing.
I don't see the point in wasting good blueberries on baking. I eat 'em raw, too!

The Crislers said...

I can't bring myself to write about all the awfulness around us, either. This post was so fun, and so whimsical, and silly, and I loved it. The THE made me laugh out loud.