NaNoWriMo, Museum of the Bible and Beverly Cleary

November was NaNoWriMo. No, that has nothing to do with Robin Williams’ Mork. The National Novel Writing Month challenges creative people worldwide to draft a 50,000-word novel in thirty days. In operation since 1999, NaNoWriMo expected 350,000 writers to take part this year. And there have been many successes — 449 published novels, at least 80 of them with Big Five publishers. Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen was conceived as a NaNoWriMo manuscript. More information is available at NaNoWriMo.org. You have a year to think about what you would like to write.

Also in November, Museum of the Bible held a grand opening in Washington, D.C. The 430,000 square-foot museum, largest in the city, would take a visitor nine eight-hour days to see it all. One feature is a walk-through exhibit of a n ancient city excavated on a hilltop over the Valley of Elah, traditionally the site of the showdown between David and Goliath. A tourist attraction of literally biblical proportions.

A few months back, Beverly Cleary, author of the Ramona Quimby picture books and so many others for young readers, turned 101. Her first was published in 1950. Since then, 91 million copies of her books have been sold worldwide. When she was in eighth grade, a teacher assigned a creative writing paragraph, one that described something. Beverly didn’t receive her usual good grade on it, and that disappointment influenced her writing style for years thereafter. Which was okay; kids often told her they liked her books because they didn’t have much description.

Here’s a question to liven up any party. Do you know what makes a word a “piano word”? It’s a word in which all the letters can be played on a musical instrument. “Cabbage” is one. Now everyone can have fun thinking of other examples. And by the way, easily confused words, such as “ideal” and “idea” are sometimes known by the provocative term “dangerous pairs.”

“Between Friends” is brought to you by carolcail.com, and Carol herself, whose memory isn’t what it was, but she still knows all the words to “Ninety-Nine Bottles of Beer on the Wall.” And she remembers all her Friends at the Longmont Library. Have a happy Christmas.

 

*Written by Carol Cail — Read more from Carol at carolcail.com
*Originally published in December 2017

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