Friday, July 21, 2006

Eleven Windows

Weekend Assignment #121: Do whatever you want, so long as it somehow involves the number 11. Memories of being eleven, lists that have eleven positions on them, collections of eleven similar objects -- hey, whatever you want. As long as the number eleven is somehow involved, it's all good. For those of you thinking about being sneaking and using binary notation: no "11, base 2." We're talking binary number 1011 here, pal.

Okay, I'm going to take the easy option here:

The Eleven Windows Open on My Computer Right Now
  1. Firefox browser, with seven tabs open. One of those tabs is where I'm typing these words. The others have to do with stuff that I don't want to discuss here yet again.
  2. "Falkus9" - a Word document containing 10 pages, 6,087 words of a completely revamped first chapter of Sara's novel. It's actively good writing, too.
  3. "blog backups" - a folder containing all those backup documents Barbara sent me.
  4. Microsoft Office Picture Manager - on which I hope to find something at least metaphorically related to the subject at hand.
  5. AOL - Weekend Assignment #121: This One Goes To Eleven! Of course.
  6. AOL - Buddy List. Seems quiet at the moment.
  7. AOL - Email, with the header, "Karen, I just now caught up on your." It awaits my thoughtful reply.
  8. AOL - IM window to Sara, with the sidebar open for receiving the Falkus9 file.
  9. AOL - IM window from Carly from I think a few days ago.
  10. AOL - AOL Channels - the thing that pops up when you close the Welcome screen. I hardly ever use it.
  11. AOL - Mavarin's Mailbox. This currently has 66 emails marked unread, down from 80 earlier tonight. Every day I get a little farther behind. This weekend I will catch up - this time for sure.
Okay, I got the email down to 54. Time to do the extra credit:

Extra credit: Grab a book, open it to page 11, and write out the 11th sentence.

The eleventh book from the left on my L'Engle shelf, not counting the ones sitting flat on top of other books, is Meet the Austins. Page 11 is the first page of the story. It only has 8 1/2 sentences on it. So we turn the page, and go for the eleventh sentence in the story:

She was doing this at the same time that she was scraping carrots, so the carrot scraper was a scalpel as well as a scraper.
--Vicky Austin, describing her sister Suzy's doll appendectomy, in Meet the Austins by Madeleine L'Engle.

The interesting thing about Meet the Austins, by the way, is that back in 1960 the subject matter was considered too much for children to handle. What was so dangerous and controversial? Did Vicky get pregnant? Was John gay? Did Suzy find out she was adopted? Did Rob get molested? None of the above. As L'Engle explains in Chapter 5 of A Circle of Quiet:

"Two of my books for children were rejected for reasons which would be considered absurd today. Publisher after publisher turned down Meet the Austins because it begins with a death."

The other book that kept getting turned down was her most famous, most award-winning book ever, A Wrinkle in Time.

But back to Meet the Austins. It begins with a news that a pilot, a friend of the family, has died in a plane crash. His co-pilot is also killed, leaving behind a 10-year-old girl, Maggy, who moves in with the Austins and drives most of the plot. It's hard to imagine it now, but the idea then was that kids wouldn't be able to handle the idea of a child being suddenly orphaned in Chapter One. Hey, what about Oliver Twist, folks? There are lots of orphans in books that children read.

There was one more weird, controversial thing about Meet the Austins, that led to the book coming out with a chapter missing, not to see the light of day until 20 years later. It was called The Anti-Muffins. It was about a fight at Sunday School, and a club the kids had, based on an incident when a cat had her kittens in the oven. The idea was that the kittens weren't muffins just because they came from the oven, or all alike like muffins. And if this anti-conformity, be-who-you-are, don't-judge-by-appearances concept wasn't clear enough on its own, it was driven home further by one of the kids in the club, Pedro, being the son of a tenant farmer. Apparently that was too much for The Viking Press in 1960 - but in 1997, Farrar, Straus & Giroux, the same publisher that decades earler took a chance on A Wrinkle in Time, restored "The Anti-Muffins" to Meet the Austins.

Good for them.

Karen

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1 comment:

Monponsett said...

I'm sort of ashamed to admit that I get all OCD about the AOL Channels thing, and now compulsively hide it under the Buddy List every time I log on.