Einstein’s Theory of Imagination

“Theories are pictures we see in our minds. We use them to explain something we do not understand . . . therefore, imagination is more important than what we know.”

— Albert Einstein (as played by actor and professional storyteller Marc Spiegel at the Hackerman Academy Saturday Morning Science Series at Towson University).


IFN Writers–Campus Scene III: Gray Pebbles

The partly transparent yellow tape reading “CAUTION” and “CUIDADO” flutters on 34th street in Baltimore. Clouds cover the sun, painting the sky a bright gray. The characteristic murmur of a city is playing. And evidence from the disturbing clanking of a jackhammer that woke everyone up can be seen directly outside of McCoy: six uneven sidewalk blocks that at one point had the names and affiliation of many students etched into wet cement.

“You see the ‘Skins last night?” This man, the man in the green hat, looks to be in his late thirties. He is wearing dark blue jeans and has a goatee.

“Yeah, close game. Fuck the Cowboys. ‘Least the Ravens won.” This man has a blue hat, and looks to be younger than the other man, but must still be in his thirties. He is wearing light black jeans and also has a goatee, but his chin beard extends three inches down his neck. Without this nuance, the two men would be indistinguishable.

“The Rams fucking suck, though.”

Students walk around the twelve or so sidewalk squares that have been blocked off, staring intently at the work of the two culprits.

“Why do you think they are doing that?” His friend just shrugs and stares forward.

A blonde girl passes near the blocked area to go into McCoy. The man in the green hat looks at the girl, eyeing her behind, then looks at the other man and raises his eyebrows. The other man nods in approval, then looks at me catching the situation. I look down at my paper to write some more. A few minutes later the man in the blue hat lights a cigarette, and both men leave in Green Hat Man’s truck. Leaves scurry uphill 34th street to North Charles, fluttering over the broken sidewalk. Some rise over the square clefts, others not.

Other people pass, giving the sidewalk only a glance. Their names were not on that sidewalk; they are probably going to be remembered a different way. Those people whose names were on the sidewalk might not have had another way of being remembered. Now, because Hopkins sent two men to break the sidewalk, our names exist only in gray pebbles and ash.

—Nicholas Sanchez


I love reading Corrections. This from The Baltimore Sun on Jan 11, 2012.

“A recipe for Severn Inn Southwestern Quiche, which appeared Nov. 28(!), listed an incorrect number of eggs. The recipe call for 12 whole eggs, not three. The Sun regrets the error.”

I love imagining the scene. Cue would-be chef following the flawed recipe: “A quiche with only three eggs and a dozen red peppers? Ah well, here goes . . . “

IFN Writers–Campus Scene II: The Breezeway

It’s 11:47 a.m. and gray clouds crowd the sky. At the top of the marble steps, a girl stands, her disposition sunny. She wears a relaxed, wavy skirt and blue T-shirt.

“Have a honey stick for the Jewish New Year!” she says. She gingerly hands a honey stick to a student passerby.

“Thank you,” the student replies and adjusts her glasses. She walks away.

A few students walk leisurely up and down the marble steps. The sun starts to peek through the clouds as people stop at the top of the Breezeway to see the Jewish Student Association’s (JSA) table.

“Oh my god, is this your club? How have you been?” one student says to the guy manning the JSA’s set-up.

Crayons and markers roll down the table’s wooden planks where some students decorate cards for U.S. soldiers. A breeze sweeps through the pillars. The Israeli flag flutters, hanging from the table.

Students laugh and chatter about their weekend and suck on honey sticks.

* * *

It’s 11:55 a.m. and the noise of jingling keys and flip flops scraping against brick paths reaches a crescendo. The crowd thickens, morphing into a storm of students rushing to class. Discussion of the weekend ceases. Academic talk echos through the Breezeway.

“I’m going to the lab today, so I won’t be eating dinner until ten.”

“I don’t know anything for this test!!!”

“But the protons are at a low energy state . . .”

Brisk walkers, slow walkers, absent-minded texters, mobs of people deep in conversation clog the Breezeway for a few frenzied minutes. Occasionally, someone will subconsciously take a honey stick from the brown-skirted girl, who still smiles widely.

The clouds start to crawl across the sun.



I look up from my scribbling. Amadeus is leaning across from me at the table where I sit, next to the JSA.

“Oh Hi!” I say, smiling.

“What are you doing here?”

“Oh, just my homework.”


“Yes, here. I like sitting outside.”

“Every time someone sits here I assume they are advocating something.”

I think about this. I am sitting at the table adjacent to the JSA, who is celebrating the Jewish New Year. My table, although not as elaborately adorned, looks just as official.

“I’m advocating my sanity.”

He laughs.


The bell from Gilman Hall chimes, indicating it is noon. A couple of students trickle through the Breezeway. One waits at the top of the steps, waiting for someone. The brown-skirted girl has been replaced with another girl. This girl dons a tidy, black skirt and floral blouse. She slouches as she hovers around the top of the steps with her backpack on her back.

“Honey stick?” she croaks, barely extending her arm.

The quad empties out as noon classes begin.

— Katherine Simeon


“My favourite piece of information is that Branwell Bronte, brother of Emily and Charlotte, died standing up leaning against a mantelpiece, in order to prove it could be done.

That is not quite true, in fact. My absolute favourite piece of information is the fact that young sloths are so inept that they frequently grab their own arms and legs instead of tree limbs, and fall out of trees.”

— Douglas Adams The Salmon of Doubt