Monday, September 10, 2012

Three Minutes Lurking—er, I mean Observing

Normanday #45: It’s not eavesdropping, it’s research.

Observe people—at the movies or the mall, the park, a classroom…anywhere at all. Write for three minutes about what they say and do, what they look like, and possibly how they smell. Leave no detail unrecorded.

Email what you wrote to woof at bright dot net by the end of the day September 16 (put “Norman is Inventive” 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 is the single entry from last week when I asked you to write for three minutes…

…about the unexpected email you received—a note from yourself twenty years from now.


Dear Kim,

It’s me, Kim. Yes, you. I mean “me.” Or maybe I mean “us”? Anyway, it’s you in the future. The year is 2032. We have the ability to send email to the past now. I did the maximum amount of time allotted—20 years. I would have done 40, but that isn’t possible yet. Mainly because there was no email 40 years ago. Remember? Back in 1992? I mean, some people knew about it, but you sure didn’t. No email, no internet, no cell phones.

We don’t have those things either, actually. Well, not in the forms that you know them in.

Anyway, I digress. I could tell you all about the future, but that would be cheating. And I know you hate cheating. They won’t let us give too much away. But they do say we can give some warnings or advice, if that should be helpful.

The good news is that you are still alive. I know that is surprising to you with your family history and the rumor that the world ends at the end of 2012. It doesn’t end. It will change some and that change is important. But it’s not an ending as you know it. So, anyway, stop worrying about dying.

Speaking of worrying, I suppose you thought I would tell you to stop all together, right? Well, wrong. We find out that you worrying is REALLY helpful. It has kept us prepared. Thinking about all the possibilities, good and bad, allowed us to react in a swift manner to some crazy stuff that started happening right around 2015. I can’t get into the details, but all your worrying paid off. So, if I were you, I would do even MORE worrying. Try to develop certain skills and reactions in response to that worry. It’s good to stay on your toes.

The other good news is that they finally found a cure to cancer, so no one has to worry about that. But, now we have Blubelia. No cure. And it’s contagious and no one knows how it is being spread. So people are kind of jumpy. The people with OCD seem to be doing well, so most everyone has developed a form of OCD. It’s just a way of life now. As you had a little of that before, it doesn’t both you too much to adapt to this much stricter cleaning process. You had a hard time convincing Wood and your son.

Speaking of which, your son is doing well. 19 years old and studying to be a doctor. You hope he finds the cure to Blubelia. He is a bit of an alien buff…but who isn’t these days? Understanding alien technology is all the rage. And you and Wood are still together. He has done well with his inventions but you still haven’t made much money. He’s too generous, as you have always known. He loves using the alien parts to create some funky hybrid guitars. I can’t tell you how much time I have spent cleaning up alien junk parts!

Well, I suppose I am reaching my time limit on this thing. Just remember, continue to worry. The world doesn’t end in 2012. There is a cure to cancer. And to watch out for the giant cockroaches in 2017. And I mean “giant.” In fact, I know they no longer sell or produce DDT, but if you can find some, squirrel it away in a safe place. It just might save our life some day.


60 year old Kim.

P.S. You look good for 60. Try not to think too much about your looks. And good job losing weight in 2014. It worked out well because you had to do a lot of running in 2017, because of the cockroaches and all. The knee replacements work well too. So, keep at it and it will all pay off in the end…

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