- If you could travel back in time, what period would you visit, and what would you do?
What would I not give to teach alongside my renegade grandmother in 1900s British-occupied Ireland! As Grandma O'Meara recounted to me decades ago, she and her colleagues defied the British government by teaching children the Irish language and Catholicism. Teachers deftly concealed their counter-curriculum from officials during school inspections, and then carried on their revolution in guerrilla fashion.
- Write from the perspective of a different person, an animal, or an inanimate object:
As a centuries-old oak or redwood tree, I have seen (possibly, and however distantly) cities encroach, societies grow, cultures evolve, various living populations grow and decline, and the climate change. Hundreds, maybe thousands, of hands, feet, and tails have patted, clutched or brushed me, and countless couples have tattooed their emblems of love into my skin. As one generation after another of humans withers into maturity, age brings me heft and strength. (Yes, however awkward it is to point out, it is true: even as my chest swells, as my arms reach and ramify, time, my friend, takes its inevitable hatchet to you.)