I wrote this as a class paper in creative writing. The constraints were pretty rough: Less than x words, had to be human, had to be one scene, contemporary, etc. I like it though, and it serves as a jumping on point for the children’s book I’d like to write. I challenged myself by making it present tense.
“Did you know that you could fry people with a flashlight if you were on a spaceship that was travelling at the speed of light and you shined it out the windshield?” The words jumble together, cascading in a parade of nine-year old enthusiasm. Typical speed for Jarvis Blankenship. But that was the potency of new information, so it had to be shared. Which is why he had run into his sister’s room, red plastic flashlight in hand, turning it on and off at imaginary enemies.
“Why would you need a windshield in space, Jarvis?” his sister answers half heartedly, absently typing on the keyboard of her softly glowing computer. But the fourteen year old always seemed to be typing. “There is no wind in space”, she adds, never looking away from her screen.
Jarvis Blankenship purses his lips. He is of course, aware that there is no wind in space. He is learning all about space in one of his mother’s old books. But a windshield is necessary for this thought experiment and Zerelda is always such a pragmatist. No imagination, which is something you need to answer questions about the world. You need to tell stories to find answers; like the serious subject of what happens to a beam of light if you’re already travelling at the speed of light! Does the light get stuck inside the flash light? Does it spill out on the floor like syrup? These are important questions. (more…)