Monday, May 7, 2012

Three Minutes with Bruce the Wise

Normanday #27: Don’t take any wooden pickerals

Write for three minutes about…

…Bruce and the free advice he gave you. What was the advice and what happened when you followed (or didn’t follow) it?

Email what you wrote to woof at bright dot net by the end of the day May 13 (put “Norman is Suave” in the subject line). I’ll post as many of my favorite entries as I want next Monday. Include your first name (or, even better, use a pen name) and age (unless you’re tortoise-old). If you’re a published children’s or young adult writer, include a biography to be posted with your entry.

Here are the entries from last week when I asked you to…

…spend three minutes conducting an interview with the inventor of the wheel.


It was a hot day in the Fertile Crescent. Fortunately, Ara, inventor of the wheel, welcomed me into his house, which shielded me from the hot sun and sand.

Ara: Hello! Welcome to the city of Ur.

Me: Hello! Thank you so much for meeting me. I appreciate you taking the time out of your busy schedule.

Ara: Oh, well, I am not so busy anymore. I mean, yes, I still harvest, but now I save tons of time using my cart.

Me: I am so glad you brought that up! That’s what I am here to discuss with you.

Ara chuckled: Yes, I figured that is why you are here. Have a seat. Can I offer you some water?

He pointed me toward a bench and scooped some yellow-ish water into a mug for me. I took it out of politeness and sat down. Everything seemed so cramped as I looked around. The whole place was smaller than my bedroom. He noticed my eyes sweeping the place.

Ara: Ah. I see you have observed my decadent lifestyle. I own this dwelling and all you see within it. It is mighty, is it not?

Me: Oh. Oh yes, quite mighty.

Ara: Not every farmer can boast of owning his own dwelling. And I owe all of that to my cart. Well, my cart with wheels.

Me: So, yes, tell me how you came about to invent the wheel. I came all the way from the future to talk to you about that.

Ara: Hmmmm…well I am sure your life is not so grand in the future as mine is here. Can I offer you some bread?

He handed me something that kind of resembled a flat cracker. It was very grainy and I tasted it and it was good.

Me: So, the wheel? It’s such a brilliant invention. What made you think of it?

Ara started pacing around the room, moving pots and swatting at flies with something that looked like a stick and some horse hairs attached to the end. I started to notice that his house looked kind of messy. One would call it bachelor pad.

Ara: The wheel? Well…you see, my wife, she complained on how long it took to move the barley from here to the other side of Ur, where the rich could purchase it. I had a cart with some sledges under it. She suggested we put a fruit tree log under it to help it roll along.

Me: Your wife suggested it?

Ara: Yes. Ura suggested it. Well, I didn't listen. I mean, she is a woman. Their brains are so inferior. No offense.

I tried to remain professional, hiding my annoyance at this slight.

Me: You didn’t listen? But, how did you invent the wheel?

Ara: Oh, well, a week later, I thought to put a log under my cart. It really helped roll the cart along, saving me lots of energy and time. My brother saw and said I was brilliant. Everyone started doing it after that.

Me: Isn’t that just what your wife suggested?

Ara: No no. She suggested a fruit tree log. I used sycamore. So you see, it was completely my idea.

Me: I see…so, is your wife home?

Ara hesitated. He looked around and shuffled his feet for a moment.

Ara: Well, no. She left me, you see. I am not completely sure why. She went to go live with a merchant. I guess she couldn't stand living in the shadow of my brilliance.

Ara nodded his head, as if convincing himself.

Me: Well, thank you for your time. Oh, and you may want to get rid of some of the sludge in your water by draining it through some cheese cloth.

Ara: Hmmmm…What a great idea. Thank you. Thank you very, very much.

Kelly Bingham


Hello and thanks for joining us today on INVENTOR’S CORNER. Today I am interviewing Mrs. Cave E. Man, the inventor of the wheel!

Me: Mrs. Man, thank you for granting me this interview.

CM: You’re welcome.

Me: Let’s cut right to the chase. What inspired you to create the wheel?

CM: Well, this may seem obvious. But I feel that most great inventions are born from a NEED. When you NEED something and it does not exist, what do you do? Walk around dragging your knuckles on the ground? Beating things with a club? Sadly, many of my friends do just that. But not me. I saw a need for something to get the kids from point A to point B in a much faster way than by foot. And my youngest is allergic to bee stings, so you can imagine how worrisome it was to walk through fields and woods and meadows on bare feet all the time, constantly worrying she’d get stung. I started thinking about……

Me: Let me guess! A shoe.

CM: A what? No, dear. A vehicle of some kind. What’s a shoe? Anyway, I pictured putting my family in a box, and just rolling to our destination. It sounded wonderful. I set about figuring out how to make that happen.

Me: And how DID you figure that out?

CM: Well, we were all having a family reunion at Big Brown Cliff. Or rather, at the bottom of Big Brown Cliff, because my mother-in-law insists that's where we have it. If you ask me, the TOP of the cliff would be better. But no one asks me. And I can keep the peace, right? Even if she does criticize my Brontosaurus Loaf. She says it’s too dry. Isn’t that a pip? As if HER Brontosaurus Loaf is……

Me: Mrs. Man? The wheel?

CM: Oh. Yes. As I was saying, we were at the reunion. And cousin Bart was doing his annual Fire Dance.

Me: Does he call up fire from some magical spirit?

CM: No. He sets himself on fire and dances. It’s quite the spectacle, though of course it’s such a bad example for the children. Anyway—he was spinning in circles, shouting, flames trailing, the whole nine yards, and was about to jump into the lake, but he tripped. He crashed into the side of the cliff. And wouldn’t you know it? Several large boulders rolled down the cliff and just BLAZED right through our picnic!

Me: Oh dear. Was anyone hurt?

CM: Well. Bart had a few bumps and bruises, but he did get knocked into the lake, so that was fine. My snooty sister got her toes run over. (Giggle.) Sorry. And needless to say, people, hides, food, and plates went flying everywhere. You know what else? In the ensuing mayhem, somehow my mother-in-law’s Brontosaurus Loaf got thrown into a mud puddle and ruined. Not that it stopped the family Pterodactyl from eating it. But he got sick later, so there you are.

Me: Uh-huh. And so the wheel was inspired by....?

CM: Those rolling rocks, silly. I thought, what a way to go. And I set about figuring out how to replicate that rolling motion. And the rest, as they say, is history.

Me: Well, congratulations to you. You have created a tool that truly impacts history, and will be used by mankind for the rest of our lives!

CM: Just be careful, dearie. You look like the type to roll too fast. Does your mother know where you are? Have you called her lately? Mother’s Day is coming up, you know. Maybe you ought to take her some flowers.

Me: Um....good idea. Okay, that’s our interview for today. Thank you again to Mrs. Man, and to all our readers out there.

CM: You’re welcome. Here. I made you a Brontosaurus Loaf.

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