Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Blowing in the Wind

They say to write what you know. But what if one of the things you know best -- something you’ve spent inordinate amounts of time ruminating about – seems to carry virtually no chance of winning a wide audience? Or any audience at all?

Since early childhood, I’ve harbored a vast knowledge about a single subject, yet I’d never written about it until very recently. Amazingly, a publisher actually requested material that was grounded in the very topic I feared would never find an outlet. How did they know? They didn’t. They merely put out a call, and I answered.

The subject is flatulence, and the audience is young kids, particularly boys. The publisher’s need for stories and quizzes and anecdotes seems endless. My contributions thus far have been a folktale-like story about animals farting in the forest (complete with an Aesop-like moral), and a list of words for farting in foreign languages. Other contributors are way ahead of me, but I’m still thinking. And the editor said my forest story made her laugh so hard she nearly aspirated a French fry.

I’m very proud of that.

The editor, whom I’ve known for many years, seems amused, but baffled to have fallen into her current position. I’ve learned a ton from working with her; believe me, the material they produce is top-notch and hilarious, and actually of educational value. It isn’t all about farting, but much of it is closely related. Boys like that stuff. As they get older and grow into adulthood, they don’t talk about it as much. But somebody has to produce high-interest material for kids to read. I’m just fortunate to have studied the subject.

Rich Wallace