Quick! Before Thanksgiving arrives, it’s time for the World Literacy Project 2015!
(This is my own private nonprofit initiative, which involves decorating a pumpkin with words from a poem or other literary selection. Raising the world’s literacy levels, one pumpkin at a time. World-changing, isn’t it?)
For some reason, my family has never really carved jack-o-lanterns. We’ve historically painted our pumpkins–probably because my family members have so much rampant artistic talent.
But being a writer isn’t much help when it comes to decorating pumpkins. Or at least, not until 2012, when I decided to forget about keeping up with my family and put words on my pumpkin.
I called it the World Literacy Project: simultaneously embracing writerliness and offering all those cute trick-or-treaters a healthy dose of literary education. Good deal, right?
Well, something a little bit special happened in my life this year. So I found a gold pen and imitated the style of a designer I admire very much. The 2014 World Literacy Project now features an illuminated pumpkin.
Anybody want to guess where they’ve heard these words before? Add a comment if you think you know!
But at my house, there being neither babies nor dogs to dress up, we paint real pumpkins. One of the vegetables below was designed by the engineer, one by the artist, and one by the writer in the house. I’ll let you guess whose is whose.
See? They’re Betty Boop, a hot air balloon, and a poem.
Last year, I stopped trying to fight my klutziness and penchant for stick figures and instead repurposed Halloween as the World Literacy Project, decorating my pumpkin with the opening lines of “The Highwayman” by Alfred Noyes.
This year it’s a different famous, slightly spooky poem (which I subjected my family to a reading of as I was writing it out in Sharpie). 10 points if you can guess the title and author!
But though I’m greatly enjoying the World Literacy Project (and I hope the neighborhood kids will, too), there’s nothing wrong with stick figures. In fact, they can even make pretty cute costumes. Get a good laugh out of this one, and enjoy tomorrow!
As I have previously confessed on this blog, I am a baking-challenged person. Today’s confession is that I’m also challenged at the visual arts. That means that this time of year, when people are putting cute little decorated vegetables on their doorsteps, shows me for the stick-figure artist I am. Also, I’m a klutz and big knives scare me.
So rather than compete with my mom, who painted her pumpkin as an idyllic, full-color rendition of Bag End, complete with cotton-fluff smoke coming from the chimney…
…or risk chopping off my fingers with a big knife, this year I decided to bring my own branch of art to the pumpkin-decorating frenzy.
This pumpkin is my attempt both to sidestep artistic humiliation and contribute to world literacy levels and cultural awareness. Come on, little Rapunzels and Captain Americas. Have some candy. And some extra brain cells.
These famous opening lines spiral consecutively around the pumpkin, creating both a ghostly ambience and celebrating the beauty of words.
Now, here’s the challenge. Using only these snippets of famous opening lines, plus the author’s name in the photo below, can you identify this poem? Ten kudos points to whoever gets it right (and no cheating by my friends or family members who’ve already seen it in person)!