Josh's MIT Spark! Schedule for March 16 & 17, 2019

Saturday, March 16

10 - Noon -- Chess Variations

Noon - 1 -- LUNCH!

1 - 3 -- Magic Systems in Fantasy Stories

3 - 5 -- Building Histories for Your Fantasy, Science Fiction, or Dystopia

Sunday, March 17

9 - 11 -- What Does It Mean to be Gifted? (Kids)

11 - 12 LUNCH

Everything below here is in the Student Center (W20) on the 3rd floor, as part of the Spark Parents Program
Note: These are one hour blocks, as opposed to the 2 hour blocks for the Kids' program.

12 - 1 -- What Does It Mean To Be Gifted?

1 - 2 -- Magic Systems in Fantasy Stories

2 - 3 -- Non-Traditional Students, Non-Traditional College Options

3 - 4 -- Non-Traditional Students, Non-Traditional College Options (Repeat Session)

I have largely left LiveJournal, though I am maintaining the space and prior posts. OTOH, since I haven't told anybody I have done so, I suspect you didn't know it until now! I am joshwriting at dreamwidth, just as I was at LJ.

This entry was originally posted at https://joshwriting.dreamwidth.org/214087.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

Gifted Underachievers: A Contrarian Position or Two

This is a tardy entry to the Hoagies Gifted Education Page Blog Hop because the topic is gifted underachievement and how could I possibly not have procrastinated on it?!

Hoagies Blog Hope - Gifted Underachievement

Things I know about gifted underachievers:
  1. The parents do not know their kids best, the bulk of the time.
  2. The schools do not know the students best, the bulk of the time.
  3. The kids do not know themselves best, the bulk of the time.
We mostly do not know these kids and neither do they usually know themselves. Sometimes the profile is familiar to a parent, because it fit them or one of their relatives, but that doesn’t mean that anybody figured out how to help that other person and it also doesn’t mean that what the parent thinks they needed is what the child or teen needs.

The schools have been failing underachievers of all stripes for as long as we’ve had schools. See below for more on that.

And if the youngster knew what was going on for them, their lives would be so much easier! Often they can identify a piece of it or maybe two, but it isn’t as simple as just getting more challenging work – or certainly not by the time that the dreaded underachiever label has been plastered on their forehead.

Things I know about not helping gifted underachievers:

A. Following the teachers’ advice on how to deal with the situation seldom makes things better.
B. Following the guidance counselor’s advice on how to deal with the situation seldom makes things better.
C. Following a psychologist’s or therapist’s advice on how to deal with the situation seldom makes things better.
D. Following a book’s advice on how to deal with the situation seldom makes things better.

Why not? Because teachers, guidance counselors, therapists, and psychologists have somewhere between zero and very little training in giftedness and their training in underachievement is weaker than that. They mostly are relying on word-of-mouth and instinct, and neither of those will cut it for either population, let alone the combination.

And stupidly enough, even when confronted with a gifted underachiever, they don’t go out and do the research that might inform them! They don’t.
 
What research tells us about the causes of underachievement among gifted students:

Merriam-Webster, Etymonline, and several other sources will tell you that “underachiever” came into the language in 1951 – 1953. They’re wrong. It was first used in 1939, as far as I can tell, in E.G. Williamson’s How to counsel students; a manual of techniques for clinical counselors. In it, he wrote:
There are so many factors which affect the correlation between test scores and marks that a prediction of individual scholastic success on the basis of test scores alone is far from perfect. The tendencies of able students to form habits of idleness and "getting by" are familiar phenomena. Other factors influencing this correlation are differences in efficiency in the use of mental ability, amount of remunerative work carried parallel to the academic load, amount of home duties, extent of indulgence in social activities, earnestness and perseverance, health disturbances, worries and emotional disturbances, early school training, degree of interest in academic work, and varying standards of scholarship in different schools.1

That’s pretty comprehensive, especially for 1939. Add to it racial and ethnic complications, poverty issues, and undiagnosed/misdiagnosed disabilities/differences of one sort of another, and you’ve just about got them all, though probably not quite.
 
What research tells us about helping gifted underachievers:

Everything and nothing.

If you’ve read my work before, there is a good chance you have tripped across my complaints about the lack of clear definition of underachievement and this other quote from Williamson:
Since the correlation between aptitude and achievement is less than unity, we may expect to find individuals with a discrepancy between their ranks in these two variables. Just how great the discrepancy must be before it is indicative of a "problem" is a matter of conjecture at the present time. Statistics will identify students with such discrepancies but will not indicate the point at which maladjustment begins to operate. We need many more clinical observations before we can distinguish a "normal" from an "abnormal" or "problem" discrepancy.2

Eighty years later, we are no closer to an answer to that conjecture.

That means that whether you learn that there are 3, 4, of 5 types of gifted underachievers or what the six steps you must take to meet the needs of your underachiever will be, you are still almost certainly going to be behind the 8-ball, playing catch-up to a problem you wish you had seen coming.

Research tells us that sometimes it is a fit between the child and the teacher. But we also have learned that sometimes it isn’t – and we don’t know the percentages of which is which! Research tells us that sometimes a parenting style is a contributing factor. But we don’t then know why it was a problem for child X, but not Y or Z in the same family! This suggests that it is not simply the parenting style or, possibly, the parenting style at all!

There is very little replication of research with regard to gifted underachievers or underachievers at all, for that matter. This has been a constant complaint since at least 1965, but it isn’t as if Williamson wasn’t aware of the problem: “Additional studies must be made for each school and college to determine the amount of discrepancy for each school.” You and I both know that was never going to happen, but he couldn’t see how an individual school would otherwise know what kind of gap was indicative of a problem.

Thanks a bunch, Josh. Now what should be do?
  1. Don’t blame your kid. There is a pretty good chance that if succeeding academically were a matter of volition, you would have a child who was succeeding academically.
  2. Don’t blame the school or yourselves at this point, either. You lack data – and when you get the data, if you get the data, still don’t blame them or yourselves! Blame will not help make things better.
  3. Talk to your child and the teacher(s) to see what kind of gap you are discussing. See what the teacher’s perception of the problem is. See what your child’s perception of the problem is. Listen.
  4. Look at what else is going on in your child’s life. Is it full or overfull? Is your child still doing the stuff they love? Have the dropped anything else that is/was important to them? Is there a new thing (or person or activity) that is absorbing all the time and energy? Is there enough sleep happening and how are eating habits? Was there a building change? (yes, that is a documented disruption for some kids’ educations and lives!) Were they coasting and suddenly hit a topic they could not learn intuitively, but had no skills for learning something that required actual effort? (No, do not talk to me about Growth Mindset!)
  5. Ask questions. Don’t assume you know any of the answers. Don’t assume that finding the answers will be quick, either. Be patient! Nothing happening around this at this point in time is going to ruin your child’s life. (I know. This is a nonstandard response, but you’re talking to somebody who had to go through his own life to learn that lesson, several times over. Feel free to ask me about it.)
  6. There are books that have half a clue on the topic, depending on whether there is a learning disability (or some such) or not. The last books I liked a lot on gifted underachievers (sans LD issues) are from 1980 (Rand Whitmore) and 1991 (Supplee). The last book I liked (okay, the only book so far) on physically disabled gifted was 1983 (Maker and Rand Whitmore), though I am working on one almost as we speak. Other than that, I wouldn’t bother. They talk about the importance of having teachers whom the underachieving students feel respect them, among other things. Dr. Donna Ford has some books out for you to consider if it seems to be related to racial, ethnic, or multi-cultural issues in or out of the school.
  7. Don’t just put the kid in harder courses unless you are ready for floundering. If they have not learned to work, then things that are challenging are almost certain to just make for frustration and an even greater disbelief in self.
  8. Don’t conclude that because your child has a disability that therefore your child is not underachieving. That may be true, but one can also underachieve while also struggling with disability or health issues. (This is one of the things that is especially misunderstood by the vast bulk of therapy providers.)
Beyond that, I am not going to give you advice. Because of that long list of potential causes, you are going to need to figure it out or get help to figure it out – but pick your help carefully, please!

Below are some links to other pieces I have written (or gathered) on the topic:
https://philobiblius.dreamwidth.org/9270.html - from The High School Failures (1919).
https://philobiblius.dreamwidth.org/13416.html - A quote from H.H. Goddard in 1924.
https://philobiblius.dreamwidth.org/1152.html - from The Need for Special Education of Gifted Children in White House Conference on Child Health and Protection (1930).
https://philobiblius.dreamwidth.org/2394.html - 1940 research showing that “The fewer American (born) grandparents a pupil has, the higher his achievement ratio is likely to be."
https://philobiblius.dreamwidth.org/1357.html - A Note on the Definition of Underachievement, Milton Kornrich, in Underachievement by Milton Kornrich (ed), 1965.
http://www.joshshaine.com/insideout.html - Underachievement from the Inside Out, Josh Shaine (1999).
http://www.joshshaine.com/charlie.html - Patterns for Charlie, Frances Shaine (1999). (My mother, written at my behest.)
http://www.joshshaine.com/Interests/potential.html - From Overt Behavior to Developing Potential: The Gifted Underachiever, Josh Shaine (1999).
http://www.academia.edu/3769738/Underachieving_Gifted_and_Talented_Students_-_A_Narrative_Overview - Josh Shaine (2010). This is an academic paper, for all that it is written in a narrative format.






1. Williamson, E. G. 1900-1979. (1939). How to counsel students: a manual of techniques for clinical counselors. New York: McGraw-Hill book company, inc..
2. Ibid

This is a tardy entry to the Hoagies Gifted Pages Blog Hop!
Hoagies Blog Hope - Gifted Underachievement

Reflections on some of John Brunner's Gifted Characters (Part 1 of 2)

In 2009, as part of an internet meme of sorts, I listed "15 books in 15 minutes." I think I listed 18, with two at #14 and three at #15. This is about the three at #15.

When I was 16, I had the great good fortune to travel to Europe for the summer, first with a group of other high school students, then with two different groups of adults with some transition time on my own, before rejoining the first group. While I was in one airport or another, I picked up two science fiction novels - British Penguin editions of John Brunner's TelepathistThe Long Result.

Telepathist tells the story of Gerald Howson, from birth through age 20, and on into his professional life from there. Brunner constructs a world believably reached from where we are in which the safety of Gerald's mother's world is turned on its head by the effects of terrorism coming where nobody expected it would, and their dealing with the invasion, such as it is, of peacekeepers. Among the peacekeepers is a legendary telepathist. Her presence is brief, but it gives us a glimpse into the world of one sort of professional mind-reader.

Gerald was born with a number of defects, any of which might have been a burden but all of which combine to make his life very difficult. Nor is his mother any too supportive, while dad is not in the picture at all (and we learn why not). All he really wants, he thinks, is to matter - being noticed and noteworthy, even on a small scale.

At age 20, his life changes and then changes again. He realizes he is a telepath, though the only things he knows about that are from movies he has watched. And he has a distrust of the government... But he finds somebody who he thinks he can help and he does so, to the best of his ability. Unfortunately for him, his lack of understanding of his abilities draws him to the government's attention, anyway, and they take him away.

But this is not a dystopian world, even though it seemed so to him as a youth - The government forces are not the bad guys in this tale! They treat his wounds and weaknesses as well as they can, though it doesn't change his underlying conditions. They offer training in how to use his powers. He is... resistant and distrustful. In his hypervigilance, he "listens in" on a difficult situation and he is moved to act.

With his acting, he understands bunches of lessons in short order, lessons that spoke to me then and speak to me now - part of what prompts my writing this.

I have largely left LiveJournal, though I am maintaining the space and prior posts. OTOH, since I haven't told anybody I have done so, I suspect you didn't know it until now! I am joshwriting at dreamwidth, just as I was at LJ.

This entry was originally posted at https://joshwriting.dreamwidth.org/213848.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

Colors and Emotions

All comments are screened. Anonymous posts are permitted (but not required). IP addresses are off.



For some people, discussing emotions is a fairly simple and straight forward process. If we think of them as colors, they tend to have a basic set of 10 or 30 (or some other number of) colors. This is the genesis of the face charts of emotions we see:
Ten Emotions - What colors would *you* give them?
30 Faces of Emotions - What colors would *you* use for each one?

But many of us are aware of experiencing many more emotions than those charts - even those with many more faces. Hence the effort to take advantage of the hexadecimal color system to provide greater variety and gradation of emotional expression.

The way that hexadecimal colors work: each digit has 16 possible values, going from 0-9 with a-f added on the end to count as 10-15. The first two digits of the number represent the brightness of red, f being the brightest, 0 the darkest. the second two are for green, and the last two are for blue.

In this system the first two digits (those representing red) stand in for physical excitement; with 0 being a very slow, and f being high on adrenaline.

The second two digits (those representing green) standing in for mental excitement, or the amount of noise and thought going on in ones head. A 0 here would mean it is very hard to think, while a f would mean the thoughts are tumbling on top of each other too fast to keep track of.

The last two digits (those representing blue) stand in for pain vs pleasure. a 0 here is very painful, and an f very pleasurable.

This gives a way of categorizing emotions using color. for instance: When all are at their highest value (the most physically and mentally excited, and pleasurable), we get white; while the lowest values on all three would show black.



As this is very much an idea that is early in its development, it would be very helpful if you would use the charts above and the Hexadecimal Color Chooser to provide the colors that would represent those emotions to you and then either post them anonymously below or send them along to kindgrove@gmail.com.

Our intention is to use the information provided to us to develop a better guideline for using the color selector or other system for expressing one's own emotions. We will not use anybody's name or identifying information without advance permission nor do we anticipate doing so with permission.

Thank you for your time and assistance!

I have largely left LiveJournal, though I am maintaining the space and prior posts. OTOH, since I haven't told anybody I have done so, I suspect you didn't know it until now! I am joshwriting at dreamwidth, just as I was at LJ.

This entry was originally posted at http://joshwriting.dreamwidth.org/213341.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

A Survey about Sensitivity to Others' Emotions

The following questions are aimed at those who have a high sensitivity to others’ emotions, whether they use that sensitivity in any professional way or not. All answers on this page will be kept anonymous unless you expressly wish them not to be. Comments are all screened such that only I can read them, but in addition, if you want to comment anonymously that is an available option. LiveJournal and Dreamwidth sometimes record your IP, but I think I have turned it off for both venues.

This information is going to be used by me in presentations I do and in work I do with adolescents and adults. While there is no immediate plan to formally publish it in any medium, I imagine that at some point I might, depending on (a) whether I actually learn anything worth sharing in that fashion and (b) getting out of my own way!

Preamble, preamble, preamble…

Please direct any inquiries to me: Josh Shaine, josh_shaine@yahoo.com.

Role: _____ Professional in a therapeutic field _____ Former professional in a therapeutic field
_____ Out of College (or school), not working in a therapeutic field _____ Still a student

Information that would be welcome, but which you may choose not to answer:
Race(s): ______________________________ Gender(s) __________________________Birth Year _____




1. Was there a point in your life at which you either developed or suddenly discovered that you had a high degree of sensitivity to other people’s emotions or have you had it as long as you can remember?

2. Do you remember becoming aware of this being something you did and others did not do? If so, do you know how old you were when you had that realization?

3. Did you (do you) find yourself feeling overwhelmed by too much emotional input when you are in a group or a crowd, whether or not they are directly interacting with you? If so, what have you tried to do about it and has any of it worked for you? Are there particular situations or settings in which the overwhelmed feeling is likelier/likeliest to occur?

4. When you are working with an individual (regardless of whether this is in a professional capacity), do you intentionally seek to be more sensitive, to dive deeper or get a broader sense? If so, do you know how you did it and if it worked?

5. If it did work, have you ever tried that technique in reverse to be less attuned to others’ feelings? Did that work?

6. Have you experienced burnout as a result of your emotional sensitivity, whether or not you had been intentionally using it? If so, have you found an effective way to deal with those burnout feelings? What have you tried and what has worked?

7. Have you talked with any others about your sensitivity to others’ emotions? How did that go?

8. Are there any questions you think I should have asked you? If so, what question and what would be your answer?



By the way, I have moved over to Dreamwidth, where I am still joshwriting. I will be maintaining this space for the foreseeable future, but largely new posts will appear there and apparently may or may not make it over here, as the auto-repost did not work this time around.

The Story for Tell a Fairy Tale Day, 2017!

It's A Wonderful Marit

Once upon a time, there was a marit (a kind of djinn) named Ginny. She lived in Manhattan with her partner, Mirabel, but that is a story for another time. Today, she was wandering downtown to pick up a gift for her great-granddaughter when she noticed a distraught man who was sitting on the ground and rubbing a lamp with all his energy and concentration.

It wasn’t even one of those lamps like you would see in Aladdin. It was a small oil lamp for a table or camping out, but quite obviously the man was rubbing it with a purpose. Her curiosity piqued, she stepped right in front of him, towering over him and his lamp.

“Did you have any particular wishes in mind that I might be able to help you with?” she inquired.

Of course, he was stunned, because while he had been desperately rubbing the lamp, he did not expect to actually have anything happen.

He stammered a bit before managing to get his question out, but manage he did. “Are you a genie? Really?”

Ginny paused prior to responding, but finally said “Let’s assume for the moment that I am a genie, ok? Let’s try to work through what you need so badly that you would rub a camping lamp hoping for one!”

He nodded tentatively.

“Great. First thing – I am not dressed for sitting on the ground at the moment. Do you mind if we find a place to sit and chat? Perhaps some tea or other drink? And what should I call you?”

“I’m George. And yeah, I’m probably a bit dehydrated on top of everything.” He stood up and the two started walking down 5th Ave.

“How about there?” she suggested, pointing to a fenced in seating area.

“But it’s fu-“ A couple of men stood up abruptly to leave. “Okay, there.”

The hostess seated them and as soon as they placed their orders, Ginny directed him to tell her everything.

“I’m the president of a small credit union. Today one of my employees was taking a deposit down to where we keep our reserves and somehow between taking it from our counting room and the entrance to the other bank, it disappeared.

He searched high and low before finally – two hours later – telling me what had happened. I’ve been trying to figure it out, now, too. And I was supposed to be going on a trip with my wife and now I can’t do that until this problem is fixed.”


She raised her eyebrow. “Employee?”

“Well, it’s my uncle William.”

She shook her head. “I have to ask this. I’m sorry. What’s your last name, George?”

He hung his head. “I know. I know. It’s too absurd for words. I blame my mother, who thought it would be sweet. But yes, my last name is Bailey. And yes, my uncle is known as Billy.”

“You do remember that we are assuming I am a genie, right? Not an angel?!”

“I had no idea how one would summon an angel! And I’m not exactly religious. So…”

She laughed, gently. “It’s okay. Let’s try going back to the beginning. Mind if I join you to talk to your uncle?”

“I can’t very well tell him that I got a genie to help me! Or an angel, I suppose. So, how do I explain you?”

“Tell him I’m a private detective.”

“Wait – you’re a private detective?”

“No – we’re just going to act as if I am for the time being, okay? If you vouch for me to him, he will believe you – I assume you have a reputation of never lying?”

He blushed, but he also nodded.

The credit union proved to be only a couple blocks away and Uncle Billy was waiting there, pacing back and forth and ringing his hat in his hands repeatedly.

They took seats in the small conference room, with George explaining that she was a private detective and was there to help. Billy accepted it without a second thought.

Ginny pulled out a pad and pen and started with basics: Who, what, when, where, how, and why.


Who? Billy. The employees. Finally, George.
What? $50,000
When? Left the counting room at 9:15am. Got to the bank at 9:37am. Got back to the counting room at 10:52. Talked to all the employees. Told George at 11:15.
Where? Not yet determined, but almost certainly between those locations.
How? Not yet determined.
Why? Not yet determined.

“George, how long is the walk from here to the bank?”

“Ten minutes for me. Fifteen minutes for Billy, usually.”

“Okay. So, I know what happened, because it has to be what happened.”

Two incredulous faces pinned her with their eyes. “What?!” “HOW!?”

“Billy, before you left the building, did you have a conversation with somebody or more likely an argument?”

“I did! I forgot – but yes, we had a brief spat as I was about to go outside.”

“Do you know his name and where I could find him?”

“Yes – he’s been a nuisance to me for years, but he keeps some money here all the time and gives us a hard time for how we conduct our business.”

“Let me guess. He runs another bank?”

“No, that’s not it. He runs a ceramics shop and he makes things out of clay. He’s just a few doors down. Part of why he uses us is he can roll himself –”

“—here in his wheelchair. Got it. Gentlemen, I saw the shop when George and I were on our way here. I will be right back.”



Ginny walked over to the ceramics shop, where the proprietor was sitting at a low desk, painstakingly detailing a ewer. She identified herself, showed him her private detective’s ID, and he interrupted.

“Is this about the money! Thank god! I had no idea what to do with it when I got back here and found I had $50,000 that wasn’t mine. I don’t think I have any mob people among my clients, but you never know.” He rolled over to his file cabinet, unlocked it, and pulled out a satchel. “Would you please return it to its owner? I would be incredibly grateful.”

“It would be my pleasure. Can we give you a small reward of some sort?”

If your client would care to place an order or two, that would be lovely. Beyond that, really – I didn’t do anything.”

“Sure – I will pass the order along shortly. Thanks I think I know just the thing.” She grinned.



She made her way back to the credit union and was let into the conference room. She dropped the satchel on the table.

“He didn’t know where it came from and was horrified when he discovered it. He asked me to please return it to its owners, asking only for an order or two as a reward of any sort. Billy? You are off the hook!”

Billy coughed and then laughed and finally got himself together and left Ginny and George together.

“Really,” George asked, “How did you figure out where it was and why did it have to be there?”
“But George Bailey! Of course it had to be with the Potter!”

He collapsed, laughing til he cried. After a few minutes, he managed to thank her a few times. Then, “So, are all my wishes done?”

Her turn to laugh, if not quite that hard. “Do remember, that all we did was assume I was a genie, George. The only magic I used on this was analysis. Well, that and remembering the movie. But do me a favor? Is your mother still alive?”

“Yes?”

“Ask her if she ever annoyed a genie or made a silly wish, would you? Way too many coincidences in this one!” With that, she took her leave, stopping only to place an order for herself with the potter.

With a bounce in her step – not exactly an unusual thing for her – she looked forward to telling her partner, “I got to pretend to be a genie today!”

Powers Beyond the Ordinary: ‘Super’ Women and Men in Science Fiction and Fantasy - an online course

This January, assuming enough students sign up for it, I will start teaching a 15 week course through GHF Online (Gifted Homeschoolers Forum). (See link at bottom.)
Powers Beyond the Ordinary: ‘Super’ Women and Men in Science Fiction and Fantasy
In addition to the titles/topics listed, I am interested in your thoughts on what would be good works to include - books, movies, plays, etc. I know I won't even remotely have time to even check out all of them between now and then, but I know I will look at many of them and make note of the others - including them in a broader list for students who want to go further in the topic. (Students should be 12 years old and up for this course.)

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There is no way that I will even thoroughly cover the topics I already have - but I imagine I will be teaching this again!

Thank you in advance for your thoughts.

Course description as well as outline are at the link.

Click here for the course description and outline.

Regret - A Mother's Day Message for 2016

I don't do regret, as a general rule. It doesn't mean that there are not things that I wish I had done differently, 'merely' that I try to learn from them and move on, aiming to do better next time.

Sometimes, though, even that is not quite enough.



My mother wrote. She wrote children's books, novels, poetry, and various bits of non-fiction. The novels were not particularly good, I suppose. The children's books were pleasant enough, if not stuff that will live in the literature forever. The poetry was pretty good, but it is a tough field in which to be merely pretty good. Some of the non-fiction is still kicking about - if nothing else, as testimony she gave concerning parental leave.

She knew that I wrote, though what she saw of my writing was the non-fiction about gifted education, underachievement, and Dabrowski. I did not start writing fiction until she was in her last years, mostly past ability to appreciate it. She did not get to see Romeo and Ethel, the Pirate's Daughter - a work she would have enjoyed quite a bit. With the exception of the beginning Tales of the Teddy Bear Forest, my fairy tale writing came after her passing.

And I wish, from time to time, that I could share them with her, both for her editing and her pleasure. I think it would have tickled her that I've become a writer, if not yet either persistent or prolific.

It tickles me.

That will have to do.

A Loss of Wonder, Part 2 (Tell a Fairy Tale Day, 2016)

NOTE: This is the 2nd chapter. The first chapter can be found here.

Starting Therapy

Sarai smiled every time she thought about the group’s name: Mining Minds for Mending Minds. They usually just called themselves 4M.

As a young counselor, she really appreciated getting to participate in the collegial process of batting around one another’s difficult cases to try to find fresh approaches to them. Mostly she tended to remain quiet, mostly listening as she was unsure that she had much to offer them, at least not yet. She’d been told this was a pretty common approach to the first year or so in the group, for which she was grateful.

Tonight had been fairly slow until Dr. Netsuke presented his case:
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60th Year Writing Project

In honor of my 60th birthday (which will be next November 12th), I am going to try to write 60 stories and/or chapters between now and then (with some slush days if I need them through the end of the 2016 calendar year).

If you would like me to write a story for you (or one of your loved ones), respond to this message indicating that you want one and what you would like the theme or genre or topic to be. (Western, Children's story, Underachievement, etc.)

If it is not for you, personally, then let me know for whom it is being written and preferably age and gender, as well as preferred theme/topic/genre. Age/gender can be in a private message rather than a post. I prefer one per person/family. If you want more, mention that, too. I *can* do one for a family or a group.

Unlike last time I did something like this (with 11 stories in a year), there is no need for participants to create 10 things for others, though if you did that would be very cool!
The first 58 next 20 people who respond will receive a story or chapter (unless you specify that you want me not to). (If you replied to the Facebook post, please don't reply to this post!)

I think I'm nuts.