Sunday, December 18, 2005

Tea on the keyboard

Here's a tip: don't slop tea on your laptop keyboard. It makes ythiiinngggs ggffggo ffunnnyt. Fortunately, if there isn't too much sugar and milk in the tea, and if you let everything dry for a few days, and if you have a kind friend who lends you a keyboard for those few days, it might, just might, go back to normal. Still, don't do it.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005


It's snowing like crazy today, so I'm hunkered down, woodstove cranking away in the living room, pretty ice designs on the windows in the office. On National Public Radio (Talk of the Nation), they're talking about rumors. I think I'm too late to call in, but I do certainly have some ideas about the topic.

There's a great story from India called "The pandit's feather" about a rumor gone wild. The pandit coughed up a little feather one day. Strange! He mentioned it to his wife, but asked her not to tell anybody else. Of course she whispered to her best friend that the pandit had coughed up a little bird. The best friend told her husband that the pandit had coughed up a couple of birds. The husband told his buddies that the pandit had coughed up a crane. Next it was a heron and a crane. Eventually the rumor of flocks of birds flying from the pandit's mouth got back to the pandit himself. He went away for a while until that rumor had gone away and another had taken its place (thanks to Linda King-Pruitt for sending this to me).

Usually we think of rumors as being bad, but a few years ago, I wrote a story about a good rumor. A completely untrue rumor began about a young man's heroism far from home. When he moved back to Springfield, Vermont (my hometown), everyone knew about it. Through a misunderstanding, he never found out about the rumor, but because of it, people started treating him differently--better, in fact. The last time I told this story was in Springfield, at a performance for adults at the public library. I could see people in the audience trying to work out who it was. Hey, maybe a new rumor started because of my personal fiction!