|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.
prompt: deep. Write for 5 minutes on this prompt.
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
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.
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
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.
My son asks, “If there is an infinite hole, is it surrounded
by infinite dirt?”
How deep is that
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.
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
He turned to his
“Have you prepared the
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 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.
the power of flight would be his!
Freedom, and revenge, once he escaped!
triumphant inner thoughts were interrupted by a small cough.
He spun around and leveled a glare at the
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
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.
travelers would pause at the spot and marvel at the half-destroyed tower that
was once home to a great wizard.
don’t you know those cupcakes up on Garlam Street are simply the best?”
I’ve been hearing about them for
ages, but I’ve never been able to get ahold of one!
dear, certainly not.
By the way, did you
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.
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.
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.
shook their heads.
“I’m sorry,” one
“We can’t open the box, or we
would let you have some.”
If you can’t open the box, how do you eat the
cupcakes?!”Antoinette demanded to know.
At least let me look at
glanced around, nervous.
Then, one said,
Are you mad?” someone admonished from behind
the group, but the first woman waved her away.
“Quick, behind this building here.”
Antoinette to behind the local British armory, where all the guns and bullets
for the war were kept.
slowly, she opened the box…
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?
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
The Arduwans have a wealthy
store of carbon-free energy.
Krakatoa hopes to trade the blueberry cupcake aroma for Arduwan energy, thus
providing an environmentally sound source of energy for the earth for decades
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
We are calling for armed
insurrection to begin at dawn.
3. Write about a
new alternate source of energy.
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
learned to live with bee stings, and were content.
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.
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.
Speak of the devil!
The THE arrived in a sparkling uniform,
proudly showing a tiny hamster pin on his lapel.
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?”
the student shivered in the face of the THE.
The THE slammed his hand into his palm.
“Hamster energy is possibly the least efficient energy source in the
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.
Do you know why we switched
to hamster energy?”
sir,” she replied calmly.
Exactly! Cuteness was exactly what we needed
in the energy business, so cuteness was what we got!”
are working feverishly to bring to market a new, exciting source of energy
based on the wriggling of earthworms.
one day, the wriggling of one earthworm can generate the energy equivalent of
1.3 gallons of gasoline.
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.
hurdle that needs to be overcome is to find a way to keep earthworms
A happy earthworm is a wriggling
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 2 is Younger Daughter
Writer 3 is The Common Household Mom