Tag: lists


3 Things I Know About The Future… From Dystopian Fiction

A critical part of creating fiction is a careful examination of the world. Storytellers, first and foremost, must be students of the human experience. We have to spend time learning about what motivates people, how different personality types tend to form and respond to situations, how various societies react to different stimuli and challenges, how the setting we all share (the earth) responds to our existence. Sometimes this intense study leads to forecasting rather than fiction. Here are three inventions by famous authors that look like they will definitely come true–for better or worse.  #1. Meat won’t come from live animals.  In her book, Oryx and Crake, Margaret Atwood writes about chicken that is grown in parts by machines. Her ChickieNobs don’t have eyes or beaks, though they have a mouth-like orifice for receiving tubes of nutrients. It’s meat without the animal.  Such “nobs” are not a reality–yet. But since the 2003 publication of her book, “cultured meat” has been cloned from the muscle cells of beef cows. The process isn’t exactly like the blobs with tubes sticking out of them that Atwood envisioned, but when you hear about the “tubes” of muscle tissue that are grown and stacked to create one of these burgers, she […]

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When I arrived at the Good Shepherd Agricultural Mission, I was warmly greeted by a great cluster of children, each of whom hugged me and told me their name. A minute went by. Then came the first question,  “Do you remember my name, auntie?”  As a teacher, I have long known the value of remembering students’ names.  In fact, I make a practice of calling my students by name over and over again during the first few classes, because I believe that if you keep calling people by their names, other people will call them by their names too. They will remember the names, will become friends and the class will be a success. All of which is to say, I desperately wanted to remember each child’s name. But it was so hard. There were so many names to remember, and the names were so unfamiliar and even if I remembered them I didn’t say them right. Rosey and Shane and Gladys were easy to memorize. But then there was Roshni and Khushboo and Jyotika. I spent the first day fumbling around and everywhere I turned was a beautiful child looking at me and saying, “Do you remember my name, auntie?” That first night I thought […]

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My Life in Lists

 I come from a long line of list-makers. My mother had beautiful penmanship. She wrote lists each morning on the backs of used envelopes. Mostly they were grocery lists. She liked to do her “marketing” every day so she’d be sure to get out of the house.             My maternal grandmother also wrote lists every morning in small dainty writing. She would sip coffee and chew on toast at the breakfast table each morning cataloguing what she had to do or buy that day. Her “to do” lists were also most often scripted on the back of an envelope.             Both my mother and grandmother tossed their lists into the trash after they were completed. This is when I should have realized I was meant to be a writer, because when I began making lists, I couldn’t bear the thought of discarding them. Nor could I consider writing them on the backs of used envelopes. For one thing, I started making lists long before I began receiving mail.             I fell in love with notebooks at an early age, particularly spiral ones that I could open and close many times without damaging the binding. They were a perfect place for my own daily […]

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