You know it’s almost baseball season here when my son starts asking for us to read-aloud books about the sport. We picked up Fantasy Baseball, which is not about the game lots of people play in picking and trading players online. Instead, it is a very interesting novel by Alan Gratz in which a young boy, Alex, finds himself inside a fantasy world — Ever After — where the winners of a baseball tournament can ask the Wizard of Oz for a wish.
Yes, the Wizard of Oz. Gratz mixes up all sorts of literary characters (Toad, from Wind in the Willows, for example, is a mighty talented short stop) and book references (from Holes to Alice in Wonderland) in this witty book. At first, it just seems like a whimsical story. Alex thinks he is dreaming and goes with the flow — he loves to play baseball, so why not? He is bound to wake up eventually, right? Then, the Big Bad Wolf tries to eat him and the onion skin of the story starts to reveal itself.
It turns out that Alex is actually the Dreamself (or, as they are called, a Lark) of someone else — Alex, the boy in real life — and that boy is dying of cancer, and as Alex the boy fades, so too does Alex the Dreamboy. It’s up to Alex the Dreamboy/Lark to save Alex the Human, and that means winning the baseball tournament to get the wish. Gratz does a nice job of balancing the fantasy of the story and characters (even slyly referencing one of his own characters from another baseball novel that we are reading right now: Samurai Shortstop) and the tragic decline of a young child battling cancer.
(This is a post for Slice of Life, a daily writing challenge throughout March that is facilitated by Two Writing Teachers. Come write, too.)
I was tempted to draw a map of my “life on the road” yesterday, driving around. But then I figured, today was a day to tap the “Super” app and create this Slice of Life. One of the prompts is “current status” and I know they mean “romantic status” but still … I was not available at all for anything other than behind the wheel.
I invited a small group of our Western Massachusetts Writing Project to my home yesterday for a Make/Hack/Play session. These are folks on our WMWP Tech Team. Along with great conversations and connections, we got down to making, hacking and playing.
First, we used paper circuitry to think about scientific discovery, writing and map making. Everyone created their own map — either literal or metaphorical or symbolic — and then we created a paper circuit board to light up the important nodes on our maps.
Second, we dove into Webmaker’s Popcorn Maker to create video projects. I shared the one I did, using the I Have A Dream speech with overlays, and a few other folks also tinkered with social justice-themed video projects.
It was a blast and for my visitors, the paper circuitry and Popcorn Maker were relatively new experiences (one of the Tech Team folks had participated in a paper circuitry session at another WMWP event.) I’m grateful to have colleagues who would give up part of Saturday to make/hack/play and think about learning in new and interesting ways.
It’s March. For me and my blog (hello, old friend), that means dipping back into the Slice of Life Challenge, where each and every day throughout the month, a whole bunch of folks aim to write a bit, share a bit, and connect a bit. (On Twitter, we use the #sol15 hashtag, just so you know.)
The whole shebang (love that word) is coordinated by the folks at Two Writing Teachers (more than two now, but hey … who’s counting heads?). I do try to do things different each year (this may be my seventh or eighth year of Slice of Life), so I am considering making myself a little calendar for different types of media for Slice of Life. I guess I should have put that into place before the challenge actually began but …. here I am, writing my first slice.
And making a comic …. one or two of my days will be comics.
What’s your slice? Come join the Slice of Life Challenge. Even if you don’t write every day in March, get writing. Connect.