Forgotten Art: Giuliana – Mathilda 3

A reply to: A letter from Mathilda


Dear Mathilda:

I thought maybe I should practice writing formal, so here I am. Formal.

Jasper–you remember him, he’s my magical helper–he says that it’s good to talk and write in all sorts of ways: Low-down, hip-cool, fancy, regular, regimentaltudinally, and formal. Because you never know when you might need to write like this.

So much has happened.

You know how we went to the reading room? We went back.


Then me and my brother my brother and I went to the park all the way at the desert. It was a really long ways. We took the train and it took all of two hours and more, and then we had to walk and my brother was so tired that he said he was never walking to the State Park with me again, but then he saw this girl he likes and he forgot all about being tired.

He also forgot all about me.


But that was OK because I was on a mission.  Your mission.


I’ve started looking for stuff!


I looked everywhere. In nooks and crannies and in an old pump that smelled like the stuff the dentist puts in your mouth after he gives you the shot. You know. That metal smell.

And my dad let me take his special chisel-thing that he used to use when he would look for artifacts and crystals and stuff.


(Oops. I forgot about the formal part. You don’t mind if I write regular when I’m telling the story, do you?)

At first I was just thinking about how it was hard work. Because it was really hard work.

But then I started noticing things. Like in this one rock, there were all sorts of other little tiny rocks, and some looked sort of like marshmallows, and some like marbles, and some like the tips of candy corn. I got really curious about how they got inside the bigger rock and how I might get them out.


I kept looking and looking and I found some really neat stuff!

When I got back to the park building, my brother was there, talking to one of the park gardener ladies.


She was nice. I asked her about how little rocks get inside of bigger rocks and she told me all about geologic flow and gneiss and sedimentary and metamorphic and foliation. Now I know all sorts more about rocks!

Then we ate burgers that somebody grilled. They were so delicious!


Do you know the feeling of when you’ve been running through the desert, looking for rocks and finding them, too, and digging and collecting and collecting questions, also, and then getting all hot and sweaty and really hungry, also, so then you keep running and you come inside where it’s cool, and there’s your brother, and the nice gardener person tells you the answers to the questions you were wondering, and then there are hamburgers, too? With relish and katsup and pickles?

Well, that’s how I felt when I got your letter!

I felt like I had been adventuring forever and all the questions were piling up and it was hot and sticky and I was hungry and even a little sad, because a lot has happened since last time I wrote to you. Then I got your letter, and it was like, Ahhhh!


It was the best.

So I am happy that you wrote and that your daughter was brave and rescued. And of course she was, because she’s YOUR daughter!

And also: I have started my test that you set for me!

Here’s what I have so far: A giant red crystal; a little tiny baconlike rock; a big ice crystal rock; and fossil paw prints.


I know I have to get a lot more stuff. I will, too! This is just the start.

Jasper says he believes I can do anything I set my mind to that is humanly possible to do.

I say, “What if I’m not really human?”

He says, “Then you can do that, too!”


Next time I write, I will have found even more!

And if I start to feel sad, because, you know, I read that that is something that all people do now and then, especially when people they have loved have died–and yeah, that happened to me–anyway, if I start to feel sad, I will read your letter.

Because like I said: hot day, hungry tummy, question head –> cool room, hamburger, answers = YOUR letter.

Thank you, Oh Great Mathilda! 🙂

Your hero-in-training,


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Forgotten Art: Gee-Jay – Tad 2

A reply to: A letter from Tad


Greetings and Salutations, Thanatos Dustpine!

We (that would be the both of us, Gee-Jay, in other words, Giuliana and Jasper) like your name!

For the sake of fairness, reciprocity, collaboration, and turn-taking, Giuliana (also known as Gee, among a host of creative and inspired nom de plumes), has decreed that I (that would be me, Jasper, also known as Jay, or the old bearded one) must write this letter.

So. Here I am at the keyboard, writing while Giuliana, also known as Gee, yada-yada-blah-blah, dictates what it is that I should write while it is my turn to write the letter on behalf of Gee-Jay.


On behalf of Gee-Jay, we think you’re funny.


No, really funny. As in side-splitting, hysterical, better-stop-before-the-Grim-Reaper-comes funny.

First, we were tickled when we read, “spiky but not unfriendly.”


But it was, “Names condensed into sounds that are like letters in your alphabet,” that just about slayed us, and “I do not know if that is a proper way to start a letter,” that fairly did us in.


Actually, I (Jay/Jasper, you know the rest) became a bit concerned for my young friend (Gee/Giuliana, and so on and so forth), and so I left the room for a moment before reading on to give her a chance to compose herself.

When I returned, she was deep in thought, something that is not at all unusual for Gee. (She asks me to write that it’s not at all unusual for me [Jay/Jasper, etc.], either.)

And you, our new friend, Tad? We (Gee-Jay, ad naseum) would like to know if it is or isn’t unusual for you to be deep in thought. In fact, Gee (you can recite it by now) reminds me that you wrote, ” I do spend quite a lot of time for thinking…”


“Time for thinking”–that has a nice ring to it.

In fact we think that we would like to start a club called “Time for Thinking” club. Would you like to be in this club with us?


Giuliana says that the title sounds a lot more intelligent that the former title of her other club, which was called “Stop Bullying, Stupid,” but is now called “Now!” and is a club that it also about pirates.

After we finished reading your letter–and didn’t die of laughter, I’m happy to report–we wanted to know what was so funny about it.


“I think it has to do with saying something very obvious, ” I suggested, “like Gee-Jay being our initials, but saying it as if it’s surprising or not obvious at all.”

We tried it out.

“Your shirt is actually a t-shirt!”

“Yours is, too!”

Not funny.

“It’s because the words are formal!” Gee suggested. (She is very perceptive, my young friend.)


I read aloud from your letter again:

It is a safe assumption that one needs time to write. Though sometimes I wonder whether – if contained properly – timelessness actually grants more time. Or at least takes away schedules. Then again, that might only work for beings who exist in a state that is not bound and guarded by time.

“It’s beautiful, right?” said Giuliana. “But funny, too.”

And I had to admit she was right.


Gee reminds me that I have lapsed into writing from myself, when I’m supposed to be writing from the both of us.

We both think that beauty and funny can go together, but we don’t think that being beautiful makes something funny, nor that being funny makes something beautiful.

We read a little more: ” I am not funny, at least never on purpose. I just do not seem to have a knack for it… And I do not think that I am very smart either.”

When we finished chuckling, Giuliana said, “It’s because it says one thing, but it’s really not the way it is, but it says it in formal language and kinda beautifully, and so we’re lulled into believing it, while we know it’s not like that, and so the way the two feelings don’t fit has to come out in laughing!”

And we think, maybe, that Gee is right on this one.

But we don’t have the knack for that type of humor.

We tend to go in for knock-knock jokes.


We are very touched by what you say about Gee being able to continue writing Dusk Mann, Tad. And we also thank you for the kind words you said about him. Gee wants to tell him about you in her next letter. She thinks that he will like knowing about you, even if he can’t write back.


Gee suggests that I (Jasper, also known as…) try writing to some of those that I’ve said goodbye to, also. I’m not sure that I will. I speak to Bess, my wife, often, though she left this realm nearly a decade ago. I still feel her with me, always. I don’t have an explanation for this, except that I feel there’s more to a person than the body that houses them, and when that body fades, what’s more doesn’t.

We are curious about universes without time or space, which you propose might possibly exist. We feel they might, too. It’s not something we’ve thought much about, but intuitively it feels that it could be a possibility.

What we want to know is if consciousness needs time–or space–in order to exist. We’re looking into the work of Giulio Tononi, Christof Koch, and Max Tegmark to see what they have to say on the matter. So far, we are fairly certain that Tononi and Koch hold that consciousness requires the presence of time, while Tegmark posits that it requires space, but we must admit that we don’t understand their mathematical equations well enough to be sure.

Giuliana assures me that she’ll be able to understand the math when she’s twelve. I assure her that, for me, it is likely hopeless.


We, Gee-Jay, would like to know if you, Tad, would like to join our “Time for Thinking” club, and if so, if you would enjoy thinking about the puzzle of consciousness, time, and space, with us.

We are happy (as in delighted) that you are our pen pal. Already we feel very cheerful, and we know that these smiles will return every time we think of, “Names condensed into sounds that are like letters in your alphabet.”

With that, we are hoping to be clever and sign our letter with something other than “sounds that are like letters.”

I (that would be me, Jasper) will sign like this: %(*)%

And I (this is me Gee, that would be Giuliana) will sign like this:  dsajkpwaorijwapeindklcxpidrheiawmvdmfg @@ aseprieam ## amkdfpaewi 56g967

Or you can call me Tazer.

Over and out,

With affection,

And gratitude,

And ponderings,

And it’s already way past time for someone to go home,



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Forgotten Art: Giuliana – Ayden

A reply to: A letter from Ayden


Dear Ayden.

I’ve been thinking about your letter. I learned a new word: conundrum. Do you know that word? That’s what your letter is.

How come you’re now a dad, and last time you wrote you were a little kid, younger than me?

I’m not that much older, only about ready to graduate from third grade, and before I was in the middle of third grade.

Do you think you’ll still be alive when I’m in fourth grade?


One of my pen pals was alive for a while, and he wrote me a lot then. He was moving really fast, and before I had a chance to write him back, he sort of got old and died. Or something. At any rate, I can still write him, but he can’t write me.

It’s weird.

Life is weird like that.

I was asking Jasper–did I tell you about Jasper? He’s my mentor. I was asking him about time. Because it isn’t fast for me, but it’s fast for you, and it was super fast for my other pen pal, the one that maybe died.

But I’ve got another pen pal, and I don’t think she even LIVES inside of time, because she lives forever. She’s a goddess. No, really.

And then, Jasper and I just got another pen pal together, and he says that “humankind” (that’s us) hasn’t figured out time yet.

Me and Jasper spend a lot of time trying to figure out time!


We’re reading this big book called, “From Eternity to Here: something-something Ultimate Theory of Time.”

For example, the book asks, “How is the future different from the past?”

My answer is, In the future I will be the same me and my heart will be beating in the same way, only I will be made of all different cells and I will be bigger.

Jasper said, “Yup. That about sums it up.”


What I really want to know is, What’s it like for you to be grown up now?

Do you still remember what it’s like to be a kid?


And if you still remember what it’s like to be a kid, does that make it easier to not get mad at your own kids when they act like kids?


Jasper says that he remembers what it feels like to be a kid. But he never had kids. So I wonder, if you have kids, do you forget what it feels like to be a kid?


My mom says she doesn’t remember anything from before she had my brother. So that’s why when I call her up when I’m at Jasper’s and I say, “Mom. We’re in the middle of discovering something, and I can’t come home until we discover it,” she will say, “Supper is in half an hour, Gee-gee. Be home then whether it’s discovered or not.”


No kid would ever say that. A kid would say, “Here! Have some chips! Let’s go chase the moon!” And off we go. That’s what Jasper is like, too, except he says that being friends is a privilege and if we want to keep that privilege we gotta play by mom-rules, too.

So. It’s home at supper time unless we plan ahead and make other arrangements.

Do your kids make other arrangements sometimes?

I guess I gotta go. I want to mail this letter to you before any more of your time passes.

Do you think you’ll be an old man when you write your next letter?

I’m kinda tired of losing penpals when their time is up, so I hope you don’t get old too fast.


Tell your kids that I used to know you when you were as little as them! They will think that’s funny and weird, because that’s what it is.

Bye, Ayden!

Your friend (who’s still a kid somewhere in the past and the future),



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Forgotten Art: Giuliana – Dusk 6

A reply to: One letter from Dusk and Another letter from Dusk

Hi, Dusk.

I started a letter to you, and then I got your other letter. Now I’m confused.

Your first letter had me a little bit sad because of what you wrote about your grandpa dying. I haven’t had anyone die in my life. But I have an old friend. I asked my dad and he said that my old friend Jasper is old enough to be my grandpa. Does that mean he might die?

Then your next letter made me happy and also confused. What do you mean that time has become a balloon and now it no longer exists?

I didn’t want to ask my old friend because I have an idea what it means and I didn’t want him to get sad. So I went to the reading room and I looked in the books.


One book says, “you’re spread out in time, like you’re spread out in space.” This means that all time is there at once. Then another book said, “eternity is timelessness.” One book says, “there’s no time in heaven, and no space either.”

You wrote, “Death is not the end for you.”

But you wrote me a letter. You can’t be… you know.

Oh. Now I know why you have that special mailman. He goes through time and space and to the place where there’s no time and no space.

So, I can still write to you, right? I know that you won’t be able to write back, because we need time to be able to write.

But I can write you. And I bet that if I feel every word really hard, you will get the message. And maybe your special mailman can still deliver it, but if there’s no time, you won’t have time to read it!

I feel sort of sad and sort of weird. So I will write you like normal.

I’ll tell you about my very most fun day.

It was with my brother.

I had to go to the State Park way over in Oasis Springs. That’s a whole two-hour train ride! Mom couldn’t go and Dad couldn’t go. So Devante said, “I’ll take you, squirt.”


When we first got there, one of his girlfriends came up to him. Ugh! Now I knew why he wanted to take me there!

So I said, “See ya!” and I ran off to find stuff.


I can’t tell you all about it because it’s part of that secret mission. Let’s just say it was really fun and really hard and I did great!

Then when I was so tired, I went back to the Visitor’s Center, and there was my brother, talking to the park gardener. It was so awesome.

We learned all about how to make candy from prickly pear fruit!


Then we went out to the picnic table and got hamburgers that this nice guy cooked up to share with everybody! He was really nice and really funny, and the hamburgers were delicious!

He said they didn’t taste like elephants, and I said I wished they did, and he said, “No, you really don’t.”


I think it was the very best day I’ve ever had.

You know why?

Devante said, “Hey, kid. This was fun! We should take more trips together!”


My big brother is really neat.

Do you think you can see him from where you are?


Can you still see? Can you hear my words when I think them?

OH! I wanted to also tell you about one of my new collections! I collect other things, too, but I can’t talk about them because, you know, that secret mission thing.

But this collection is just for me and I can talk about it all day long! It’s these little funny guys all dressed up like a mad scientist and an Indian princess and a girl from anime and a little glasses guy. They’re really cute and funny. I would send you one if I could. But since there’s no time and no space where you are, I don’t think they could fit.


Instead, I’ll think of them really hard, and you can see if you get the picture, OK?

I think I will keep writing to you. Is that OK?

You’re one of my best friends.

I was going to write that I missed you, but just as the idea came into my head, I got the feeling of you smiling, so now I think I’m sitting inside your smile. And I don’t miss you at all! Can you feel me sitting there?

I’ll write again!


Your friend,


p.s. Now that you are somewhere nowhere, I will tell you my real name. It is Giuliana Kruse.

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Forgotten Art: Giuliana – Mathilda 2

A reply to: A letter from Mathilda


Dear Mathilda,

I can’t believe you wrote! I’m so happy. I decided to write this letter by hand, so you can see how happy I am when you read my letters. The circles in the e’s and a’s are really big, right? That’s because I’m so happy!

I told my brother you wrote back.


“No way,” he said.

“Yes way!”

“A real live Goddess,” he said.

He was impressed.

“Hey, maybe she can do your homework!” he said. “Maybe she can do mine!”

I told him no. You’ve got rules you got to go by. But we were still both really happy. I am especially happy because if I do my tests you set, I will be a real hero.


You know how in the books the heroes always have magical helpers?

I think I found my magical helper. His name is Jasper, and when I want to know stuff, he asks me questions, and the questions he asks help me discover what I want to know.

I told him I needed to find rocks, plants, and metals. But I didn’t tell him what for. The tests have got to be secrets, right?


Jasper asked, “Where do you think you’ll find these elements?”

I said I had no idea. Well, I have some idea. I know I could go to the plant store and the rock store and the plumbing parts store and buy them, but one, I have no money. And two, that’s not the way tests work, right? So I’ve got to find them.

Jasper said, “How do you think you’ll discover where to find them?”

By exploring, I said. So we explored the park for a while, but we didn’t find anything.

Then Jasper said, “Sometimes, I read up on things in books when I need to learn more.”

He took me upstairs to the Reading Room in the community center at the park, and we found bookshelves and bookshelves of books!

“Where do I start?” I asked him.

He showed me the geology shelf, the botany shelf, and the shelf with the metal-stuff books.


I learned a lot about rocks. I wanted to learn about what you said about singing stones, so Jasper showed me the folklore shelf and I read all about singing stones.

There are these big metal-like black stones, I think they’ve made of basalt which means they came from a volcano, only they’re in a place in France where there are no volcanoes! And when they bump each other or when the wind blows through them, it sounds like ringing wind chimes! And no one knows how they got there! But I bet you do!

So, we’re not going to France. But I did also learn about some rocks that we might find in the park in Willow Springs. Jasper said he will talk to my mom and dad to see if he and I can take a field trip there.

He read a lot about plants because he loves trees. I think he wants to marry a tree!


After we finished research, Jasper asked, “Is there anything else you want to read?”

I could see he was still real into his tree love story book, so I said, “Sure!”

And I found a book about magic and wizards and witches and goddesses. And you know what? It was almost as interesting as your letter, but your letter was way better, because you really are a goddess and a witch and everything you wrote about really, truly happened.


When we put our books away, Jasper said, “Here! Look at this!” And he showed me his GPS on his phone and it had all these bright dots and when I asked Jasper what they were, he said, “These are known metal deposits!”


So, even though I haven’t found the metal or the rocks or the plants yet, I have a start!

I, Terseus, accept the tests, O Mathilda!

I am your apprentice servant.

Forever, or for life!


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Forgotten Art: Giuliana – Dusk 5

A reply to: A letter from Dusk


Hi, Dusk! How are you?

Has it been a long time since I wrote?

It feels to me like I wrote yesterday, but at breakfast this morning, my dad said, “When are you writing your pen pal, Squirt?”

I said, “I don’t have a pen pal named Squirt.”

And we all laughed.

Then he said, “It’s time to write,” and I said, “I wrote yesterday,” and he said, “No, that was a few weeks ago,” and I said, “Huh?”

Then my brother said, “You’ve been fishing in the swishy time-stream, Squirt!”

And I think he’s right.


I got a stomach ache from my mom’s fruit salad. She still hasn’t learned how to cook. She says it’s the fridge. But I think it’s because she buys her fruit at Fruit Mart, and she should buy from my best friend Veer the Vendor, because Veer’s fruit is best!

I went out to get a different snack because yucky fruit salad, and guess what I saw?

Billie’s dad was yelling through a big megaphone!

“Peace now! Stop the Idiocy! Stop the bureaucracy! Power to the People!”


At first I laughed because it reminded me of “Stop Bullying, Stupid!” And I thought how funny that even grown-ups will get mad and yell for peace and kindness.

But then this guy came up to me and said, “Hey, dude. Millions of people are dying every day.”

And then I felt bad.


I took my snack to where Fatima was sitting.

“Did you know millions of people die every day?” I asked her.

She said, “That’s not true. I looked it up for social studies and maybe 153,424 people die each day. That’s only part of a part of a million.”

“That’s still a lot,” I said.

“Did you ever see a dead person?” she asked.

Yeah. I did. Once I was in the alley, and I was bringing muffins to my friends that live there, and one guy was under a bunch of cardboard, and my friend said, “Stay away from him. He died last night.” I got shivers.

Fatima said that where she came from there were lots of dead people.

“It’s like no problem,” she said. “It’s like, you got life. You got death. One for one.”

But I don’t know. It makes me sad.


How is Ruby? I hope she lets you give her a rub on her belly from me.

I think that’s neat that you have a brilliant friend. Who is he or she? Maybe if your friend is really brilliant, he or she will help you get home!

I have a brilliant friend. He is my tutor Jasper.

He took me to the Reading Room at the park.


We were looking for information on this thing I’ve got to do for one of my other pen pals. It’s a secret, so I can’t really tell you the details. I didn’t even tell Jasper. I just said, “Jasper, how do I find rocks? How do I find metal?”

And because it’s Jasper’s job to help me find out stuff, he didn’t even ask, “Why do you want to know?”, like grown-ups always do. He just said, “Let’s do some research, Giuliana.”

So we looked in old musty books.

Then I found a book on magic. I looked up “Time” in the index. And then I looked up “Wishes” in the index. They didn’t have an entry about wishes.

But under time, I found some spells for speeding up time and slowing down time.

I tried the one for slowing down, and then it felt like I was in the Reading Room forever.


It was neat because the Reading Room is my favorite place and Jasper is one of my favorite people, and I thought I wanted that moment to be forever.


But then I remembered that I wanted to write to you, so I did the speed-up spell and now here I am! Do you think if I cast a spell on the letter, you’ll get it yesterday?

Oh, yeah. Mom says, “Remember my pen pal manners.”

So, OK. How are you? How is Olive? How is Ophelia? Did you eat Mac-n-Cheese today?

I hope that you are filled with as much happy thoughts as the sky is filled with as much happy stars!

Do you think people would stop dying if we filled all of the universe with happiness? Or is it like Fatima says, “One for one”?



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Forgotten Art: Giuliana – Ayden 2

A reply to: A letter from Ayden


Hi, Ayden. Thanks for answering all my questions! Now I know lots about you!

What do you want to know about me?

What’s it like to have so many brothers and one sister?

I only have one brother, and I am the sister. I think I would like to have four brothers, especially if they were little. Then, it would be like having a club at home every day.

Now for the club report. I guess I should say, “Now for the Now! report!”

Now! Reporting for duty! Listen Now! It’s Now! Or Never! Would you like to be in a club called Never? When do we meet? Never. Where are you going? Never. That would be Nowhere. We could have a club called Nowhere Never Noway. Going to club? Noway! Where does it meet? Nowhere! When does it meet? Never.

Actually, it meets Now!

Anyway. So, I thought I would tell you about some of the other kids in the club besides you and me.

First, there is Fatima. I think you will like Fatima. The kids at school used to tease her because she has holes in her shoes. They called her “Rag-Foot.” And she wears a hijab which makes her look really cute. But the stupid-brains called her “Rag-Head.” So now they called her “Rag-Foot Rag-Brain.”


I told them to stop and I sort of punched them. Well, not sort of. I punched them. One of them, I punched in the stomach really hard and it was all squishy! I hope that doesn’t make you mad at me. It was really fun! Then I realized maybe it’s stupid to think it’s fun to punch kids, even if they’re mean kids. So I said I was sorry. Because I was. I wrote each of the mean kids a letter. In the letter, I said that I had fun punching them. And maybe they had fun calling Fatima names. But just because punching them was fun, that didn’t make it right.


And just because calling someone who has holes in her shoes and wears a hajib names might be fun, that doesn’t make it right. Because if what’s fun makes someone else sad, it’s not really fun tomorrow. It’s only fun today. Because tomorrow, you have to look at a sad kid, who might feel really bad, and that’s not fun.

But Fatima isn’t a sad kid anymore.

She’s happy.

After dinner, she and Billie Jang and Billie Jang’s mom and me meet up in the square. If you lived here, you could meet up in the square with us.

We have story contests. Fatima told a story about a girl who turned into a pumpkin.


Billie Jang’s mom told a story about an artist who painted sunflowers.

Billie Jang’s mom also wears a hijab, but she calls it a scarf because she wears it for “artistic reasons” not “religious reasons.”

I think I wear my T-shirt with the plum blossoms on it for artistic reasons, but I wear the rubberbands for practical reasons.

Billie Jang says she wears orange overall-shorts for fun.

What do you like to wear, and do you wear anything for art or for practical or for religion?

I wish you lived in our city so you could play with us after supper. I would like to hear your stories that you tell!


Later, Ayden! Do you have a nickname?



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Forgotten Art: Giuliana – Dusk 4

A reply to: A letter from Dusk


Hi, Dusk! Guess what? I have great news! My tutor told me all about time and now I know about the wrinkles!

Oh, I guess you’re wondering about how I got a tutor.

Well, last Tuesday, the teacher told me to go out of the class and into the office next to the principal’s. I didn’t want to go, because it was reading time, and she’s reading aloud to us “The Horse and His Boy,” which I absolutely love. Have you read it? You should! Because it’s about friends. So I think you wouldn’t feel so lonely.

She said, “No, Giuliana, you have to go because this is important.” Oops. Forget I wrote that and pretend that she said, “No, Tazer.”

So I went. In the little office was this guy. He called himself Dr. Sanchez. And he said I was there for a test that my parents had said I could take. But it wasn’t a test. It was more like a conversation with a whole bunch of questions. Maybe you could say it was an interrogation.

For example, he asked me, “Do you know what ‘ochre’ means”

And I said, “Do you mean ‘ogre,’ like the troll that lives under the bridge, only bigger and fiercer and with a g, or ‘ochre’ like the color of a spoon of mustard mixed with two drops of ketchup and with a c h?”

“I was thinking of the color,” he said.

“Yes,” I replied, “what about it?”

But he wanted to move on to shapes, like trochoid and stuff.

Anyway, two days later, my mom and dad said they got a call from school, and now on Thursday and Tuesday afternoons, I go to see a special tutor at his house.

“Is it because I ask so many questions that they think I’m dumb?” I asked my parents. And my mom sighed, and my dad laughed and mussed my hair.

“It’s because you ask so many questions they think you’re smart,” he said. “This is a special tutor who can help you in ways the school can’t, so that you can learn all you’re capable of learning!”

Like math! Isn’t that exciting?

And, guess what? The house where my tutor lives? It’s down by the wharf in the Spice District where I go to watch stars with my dad!


So one day, I’m going to stay late and my dad will pick me up, and we’ll get fish and chips and watch stars and I will look for the shooting star from you.

Oh. I told my dad what you said about how a shooting star is a smile from the past, and he said, “That’s right. Because it takes billions of years for the light from stars to travel here to us, so it truly is from the past.”

When I went to the tutor’s house on Thursday, he said, “Do you want to play math games?” And of course I did.


But when we took a break and he was making snack–he makes really good oatmeal cookies, by the way, with lots of Ceylon cinnamon and real sweet sparkly raisins, and no nuts, unless I want them–I asked him about time.

“How can somebody go through time and end up in the past?” I asked him.

He said something about theoretically speed something-something, and I didn’t understand it. Then he said, he didn’t buy that theory.

He said, “What I think is more like a blanket.”


“Some people think of time as a stream,” he said. “But I think of it as a blanket.”

He told me to imagine a blanket spread out on the floor. My mom wouldn’t like that.

“How about a picnic blanket on the lawn, then?” he asked.

She’d like that.

So we imagined a picnic blanket spread out on the lawn. Just for simplicity of imagination, he said to imagine it blue, but the color didn’t really matter.

So there it was.

Then he said, “Now imagine that this blanket is time. You can walk from one end to the next, in a straightforward fashion.”

Then he pinched his fingers. “Now imagine that the blanket has wrinkles in it, where one part touches another. If you are walking from one end to the next, and you come upon one of these wrinkles, you can skip over a segment of time and end up backwards, in the past.”

And you know what, Dusk? At that very moment, it made perfect sense to me!


I think whatever pulled you there pulled you through a wrinkle! So now, all we got to do is map another wrinkle and pull you back.

It’s OK if it takes a lot of time because you’ll be skipping segments. Maybe I’ll be the same age as you when you come back and we can go to college together! Would you like that? I want to study electro-magnetic-something-something, but Dad says, with my questions I keep asking, I should study quantum physics.

Right now, I’m practicing adding and subtracting and multiplying and dividing as quick as possible, because, you know. Lightning speed.


Oh! I almost forgot! The other day, when I was in the square near my house, I saw my tutor. He was with Meadow, the art vendor who is in our club NOW! And he said, “Guiliana [pretend he said, “Tazer.”], I would like you to meet my niece, Meadow!”

“I already know her!” I said. So now you know that my new tutor is the uncle of someone in our club. Isn’t that awesome? So what he says must be true! Because, I also made a rule that our club is about telling the truth. Do you like that rule?


Oh, dang! I forgot and wrote this all about me again. Poop. (Oh, sorry. The club also has a rule, “Don’t say ‘poop.'”) But we can say “Boogers!”

Anyway. Questions about you: How is the dog? That is so cool that you have a dog that comes to visit you. I never see dogs in the city. Only pigeons, cockroaches, and rats. Boogers.

Do you really like mac and cheese best of all?

You asked if I believe in magic. I don’t. But I believe in mathematics, and math is very magical, so it’s as if I did believe in magic, anyway. Do you believe in mathematics?

I hope that’s enough questions because I’m sleepy. I get to see my tutor tomorrow.

Hope you find something that makes you smile, like a shooting star from my time! Is that possible? Or do shooting stars only come from the past.

Thank you for being my friend and I hope you feel happy.

–Tazer 1541z

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Forgotten Art: Giuliana – Dusk 3

A reply to: A letter from Dusk

Hi, Dusk!

Your letter made me feel sad and happy. Happy because you think I’m a good pen pal! 🙂

And sad because you miss your mom. How come she’s not with you? Does she know where you are? When will you get to go home and see her?

I like the dancing with the lampshade helmet part! You’re funny!


Right now my favorite thing to do is to play chess with Dad. That’s because I am studying to be a mathematician and Dad says mathematicians need to be good at solving problems, which is exactly what chess is.

Sometimes, I can see the stars. It’s hard to see them in the Art District because the buildings are taller than the sky (that’s why they call them “sky-scrapers,” my dad says), and also because it’s really bright here, even at night. The museum has lights on all the time.

But sometimes my dad takes to me to Spice District at night, and we walk out to look at stars.


We see them shining over the bay and over the hills on the other side of the bay.

I told my dad what you said about the stars being one billion and ten billion years old. My dad said, “Yeah.” He knew this. He said they discover new stars all the time, and most of them are so far away that you can’t see them, even with a telescope.

I asked him how they discovered them if they couldn’t see them.


He said, “Mathematics.”

He went on to talk about exploring through mathematics and how it lets you understand everything that is a mystery.

I think now that I want to be a mathematician because that’s the kind of explorer-hero that is in the world now. It’s like this day’s Perseus.


So I’m doing lots of math.

I wonder if math can help to understand the mystery of where you are. I’m not good at math yet, except for additions, multiplication, division, subtraction, and square roots.


I asked my dad how to get good at the math that solves mysteries.

He said, “Start by asking lots of questions.”

Here are some of the questions I’m asking:

What is time?

What does time have to do with a clock?

If I didn’t have a clock, would I still have time?

Do plants have time? (The answer is yes because they know when to have flowers and leaves and when the leaves should fall off and when to let go of new seeds and sprout into new plants.)

Does the ocean have time? (I think maybe yes because waves are like clock ticks, but then I think no because the ocean is endless and has been around forever. But my dad says, no, it hasn’t been around forever. Just a really long time.)

Is the tick-tick of my heart like the tick of a clock? But what about a digital clock that has electricity and not a tick? My mom says that the heart has electricity and it is electro-magnet-something-something that makes it beat. So, is time electric?


What do you think, Dusk?

Oh! I changed the name of our club to “Now!” If you want, we can write it like this: NOW! Do you think that’s a good idea, or is it too shout-y?

I’m glad that even though you’re somewhere else we can still write to each other!

I hope you don’t miss your mom. That’s got to be the worst.


Your buddy in addition-subtraction-multiplication-squareroots-and-questions!

–Tazer 1541z

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Forgotten Art: Giuliana – Ayden 1

A reply to: Ayden Bender’s Profile


Dear Ayden,

My mom saw your profile on the Pen Pal Project, and she said I had to be your pen pal.

“No, Mom!” I said. “He’s a kid! And I filled out my form that I only wanted grown-ups or old people, like 15 or 95 or something! And he’s five!”


She said, “That’s why he’s got to be your pen pal. You and him are the only kids in the whole project.”

I guess that makes sense to her.

I tried to explain to her that I don’t get along with kids. She said, “Read his profile. You can see he’s really thoughtful.” From my mom, that’s the biggest praise there is.

But you know what? I’m starting to think that something has changed, like what my dad said after he got his new job, “The tide has turned!” (Imagine him saying that in a really low voice. Then imagine me saying it in an even lower voice when I’m imitating him! Funny, huh?)

Anyway, what happened was my other pen pal, Dusk, joined my club. My club was called “Stop Bullying, Stupid!” But then someone told me that the name is bullying to stop bullying because it’s bullying to call someone “stupid.”

Should I call it, “Stop Bullying, Sweetie?” That’s silly!

Dusk calls it “Now Stop Bullying, Stupid!” So I think we can drop the “stupid.” I think we can drop everything except “Now!” Because our club is about a lot more than stopping bullying. It’s also about pirates.


Would you like to join “Now!”? I hope so. Because some other kids also joined, and that’s what made the tide turn. My NEW friend Billie Jang joined. (If you want to say her name, you have to say both, like one word: Billiejang.) And then my BRAND new friend Fatima joined. She looks like a pirate.

So, I guess kids are OK. I guess not all kids are mean.

I did read your profile, and you sound like you are not mean at all. You sound like a really nice kid. So, I’ll be your pen pal.

Mom says I have to ask you about you:

Do you have brothers and sisters?

Do you like school?

What do you like to do?

What are you reading?

I just finished reading Robinson Crusoe and now I’m reading “Wind in the Willows” because it’s awesome and I wish I were a toad with a big fast car! Only I would be a good driver.

If you could be anyone in any book, who would you be? (This is a real question, not a Mom-question.)


I’m glad you’re my pen pal. There. I said it.

Your new friend (I hope),

Giuliana (but you can call me Joo-jee. That’s what my brother calls me. My other pen pals call me Tazer, but that’s because they’re grown-ups, so I can’t give them my real name. Is Ayden your real name? And do you want me to call you Ayden or Space Monster Number Five?)

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