Saturday, May 22, 2010

1 Time Capsule. 1 Author. 10 Items. Go.

The Game: The Knight Time Capsule challenge
The Rules: Pick ten items that best sum up your life to go in a time capsule, so that the people of the future (I’m picturing the cast of Futurama right now) could get to know you.

1. Rubik’s Cube
At one point in my life, I decided it was essential to learn how to solve a Rubik’s cube in two minutes or less. This is probably my second-most useless life skill, but it’s always a hit at parties. (And in case you’re wondering what my #1 most useless life skill is, it’s my encyclopedic knowledge of 90s pop music lyrics.)

2. Hammock
I needed one item to emblemize my lazy side, and while my moccasins and bathrobe all seemed like good choices, only my hammock allows me to bask in Boston’s warm weather. All three months of it.

3. Swiss Ball
I needed a counterpoint for my laziness item, so I chose the Swiss ball to represent my active, athletic side. I was going to go with the chin-up bar in my doorframe, but I figured if they don’t have chin-up bars in the future, they might think that it’s some sort of club and that I was a violent person.

4. Soda Can
I don’t have a lot of vices. But since I don’t drink coffee, I turn to other sources for my 9am dose of caffeine. Also, I get cranky if I go too long without carbonation. I can’t explain it. Kind of like Scooby Doo and his Scooby snacks.

5. Guitar
I like music. I play the guitar. I’m not very good at it. This is as well as I can write this section. This lovely candid was taken by my cousin while I was playing “Country Roads” at our 250-year old family farm in Maine.
6. Super Nintendo
Remember when video games just moved from left to right? While some people get nostalgic for Woodstock of ’69, I get nostalgic for Donkey Kong Country of ’94. All I have to say to you new kids and your new-fangled video games: if I don’t have to blow on the cartridge every 5 minutes to make it work, I don’t want to play it.
7. Mask Boss
When you don’t have a boss to oversee your work and make sure you stick to the deadline you set for yourself, you need a fierce inanimate object with giraffes on it to stare at you all day long. Rest assured, when you take a 45 minute Donkey Kong break (see #6), the mask is judging.
8. Christmas Lights
I think the tradition started at some point in college—I decided that something was missing from my dorm room, and that “something” was 7 strands of Christmas lights from the dollar store (how can you say no to 100 lights for 1 dollar?) At age 25, I continue to string them up around my room for ambience. Current color? Blue. It’s like writing in an aquarium.
9. Family photo
Self-explanatory, sentimental choice. This is my favorite family photo because everyone in this portrait looks good except for me. I look like an enormous bear in an argyle sweater.

10. Pumpkin Seeds
When I graduated from high school, my commencement speech was basically your typical “pursue your dreams” monologue… typical until I said that I one day wanted to be a pumpkin farmer. However, when the local newspaper quoted me, they wrote that I “joked” about wanting to pursue a career in pumpkin farming. Let me set the record straight, once and for all, for Maynard High School, Class of 2007, and people of the future who open this time capsule.

I. Was. Not. Joking.

Unfortunately, every pumpkin patch I ever attempted to grow never yielded any pumpkins, so I decided to be a writer instead. Also, this is a picture of brown rice, because I didn’t have any pumpkin seeds on hand.

Now I challenge you to pick your 10 items. Ready...Set...Psyche!
Okay, Go.


  1. Ooooh. Must do this. Although I doubt I can come up with a line that bests "...if I don’t have to blow on the cartridge every 5 minutes to make it work, I don’t want to play it."

    Words of wisdom, right there. I'll be back for more.

  2. I've made one! Check it out here :

    This was an amazingly fun project by the way.

  3. Thanks Carrie--good to know I'm not the only one with nostalgia for a time when video games only worked 50% of the time and that was okay.

    And Jillian, great list--you should know I almost put "My Tiffany Starfish Necklace" on my list as well, but it ended up at number 11.

  4. You really should have more random challenges like this.

  5. This is a fun idea! We have a Christmas time capsule hidden with our decorations. I like yours better, and maybe I'll bury it somewhere crazy!

    Love the blue aquarium...

  6. We sort of have a Christmas time capsule as well--it's an old artificial fir tree entombed in a cardboard box in the garage. I hope the people a thousand years from now attempt to replant it.

  7. Yeah, Karsten, either that or they're going to go around trying to plug in real trees and grow wax fruit. Thanks for finding me on Twitter, btw. We both have YA summer 2011 launches. BUT do I have a book for you (old tales of Hawaaian ghost. vesterfeld or somebody. It's a little black hardcover with an impressed cover with red and white enameling of a volcano erupting. You must have this book. But first I have to find it. Dang. I will, I promise. It's lovely!

    P.S. I don't know how to video respond to a vlog, but here's this:

  8. AH! here it is: "Legends of Volcanoes is a charming 1916 Arts & Crafts binding of one of W. D. Westervelt's rarer titles. Westervelt translated many of the original ghost stories of Hawaii from the native language of the Kingdom.

    Any W.D. Westervelt's titles are worth reading if you want to know how traditional ghost stories in America begin. The collection in Legends of Volcanoes includes a story of catching a ghost.

    Catching a ghost is not an an uncommon theme in Native American cultures. It reminds me of the Cherokee story of Spearfinger. Apparently a lost art, ghost catching is a rare motif in European folklore. "

    I collect ghost stories (printed and primary oral sources) and I've kept this book around forever. Send me your mailing address in an e to and I'll send it to you. I'd rather it get use than collect dust.

    you can see the book on my old blog post:

  9. Wow, Randy, that has got to be one of the coolest concepts for a collection (excuse the alliteration) that I've ever heard of. And I love the Dead Rules teaser--looking forward to reading that one. I just finished the script for my teaser last week, but I might be a while before it's ready (it's animated).

  10. hello fellow 11Z!
    My entire famiily watched your vlog. My girls have a huge crush on you now and I'm still laughing. (not because of the crush)

  11. OMG, did the same thing with the Rubik's Cube, but I find opportunities I can show it off. I bring it up in every author visit I do, and offer to solve it for kids I see carrying it while shopping at the grocery.

  12. Haha, Terry, I got a kick out of that--I'm glad that I'm a hit with the younger crowd.

    PJ, Rubik's cubes have another function too--as a procrastination tool. I try to leave it somewhere away from my computer so I won't fidget with it, but it always seems to end up back on my desk, and then in my hand when I'm struggling with a scene.

  13. Okay, I wasn't going to comment on this until the pumpkin farmer thing came up. Every year, I plant pumpkins and sunflowers--you know, the big ticket items for my kids. And every year, I would get flowers but not pumpkins. Until my neighbor started raising bees. In Natick, MA. So weird. Anyway, now, I get pumpkins! I'm planting my seedlings today! Do you want to come help???

  14. Heather, I actually grew up just a few towns over from Natick (in Maynard) and I think our lack of bees was totally the issue. I still had fun putting sticks in front of the vines and watching them curl around them though.

    Wow, that reads kind of creepy.

    Anyway, I'll keep you on file as "Pumpkin Consultant" the next time I try to grow them :-)

  15. My pumpkin patched never produced either.