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Saturday, March 31, 2012

Exploding Poop!

By Cynthia Light Brown

It’s really true: for the past five years or so, pig manure on many farms has started producing a foam that explodes. One explosion in September, 2011 leveled a barn and killed 1,500 pigs. If your kid-radar isn’t out yet, it should be. It’s almost like a dream come true for kids—especially boys of a certain age…or rather, boys of any age (admittedly, it may not be so great for the pigs). You got poop, you got an explosion. What more could anyone want?

There’s even a mystery involved: what’s causing the foam? The explosions happen because the foam traps methane, a flammable gas (also known as natural gas). But no one really knows why the foam started forming. Scientists speculate that the foam may be produced by bacteria, or changes in feed, or maybe even cleaning materials, but they don’t know for sure. Who knows, maybe it will transform into a mutating, gelatinous goop-monster, ooze out of the manure pits and invade nearby cities. (The foam forms in manure pits; isn’t that a great phrase: manure pit.) So whether you write fiction or nonfiction, your kid-radar should be going bonkers by now.

Now, which do you think is a better title:



Exploding Poop!


Exploding Pig Poop!

The first is from the Earthweek article that I first saw this in, which is aimed at adults. But for my money, I like the pithy title, and I think kids would too. Smart, they are.

Takeaway lesson for writers:

1. Keep your eyes and ears open for great ideas.

2. It might feel like you’re wallowing in a manure pit of writing (heaven knows I am right now) but let things ferment, and when you least expect it, things will explode.

Of course, you don't know whether that explosion will be a good thing or a bad thing, but it will be a thing. And I will also admit that point #2 is stretching the analogy just a tad, but I REALLY wanted to share with you the exploding poop and felt like I should tie it to the writing process somehow. So please forgive me.

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