Creativity with Ella Minnow Pea

First things first, here’s an overview I wrote of Ella Minnow Pea, by Mark Dunn to bring you into the mindset to experience my letter that I “sent” to the leaders in the novel.

What assets of a community are the most significant? The first things that come to mind may be currency, food resources, defense systems, etc. What about the letters within a language? Mark Dunn skillfully displays how effortlessly a society can be uprooted as if it were seated on the edge of a knife when something as seemingly small as linguistic characters is sequentially abolished by a totalitarian government. This humorous, yet darkly poignant novel bears an essence of warning similar to that found in 1984 and Animal Farm as the reader is thrashed about the storyline of political leaders gradually ripping apart their citizens’ lives using the simplest means.

And now for the letter!

Tuesday, August 22

Dear Nollop High Council

My name is Liz Pipitone, and I am a web development professor from the mainland. I got word of your troubles regarding the loss of “Z” and “Q” from your highly esteemed alphabet tiles in your town. I have a proposition for you.

With only 5 days to go before the abolishment of these letters, I would like to offer you a solution for saving Nollop’s library. I understand your culture’s dissatisfaction towards technology of any kind, however, I feel it’s paramount to send you this solution because your situation is dire.

In the interest of your innocent citizens not having to witness priceless vessels of knowledge going up in flames, I am volunteering to transport 10 document scanners, 10 laptops, a personal laptop, and 100 bottles of white-out to your island in order to save the books! You will need to recruit 40 volunteers for a duration of 3 days to carry out this 3-stage mission.

The plan will go as follows. In stage 1, the first 10 pairs of volunteers will go through each book in the library, and will each work with a scanner to scan every page of text to my laptop. Next, I will use coding technology to highlight all instances of the offensive letters found within each book. In the simplest of terms, I have written computer code using Git and Python to crawl over each paged of scanned-in text and highlight every single use of “Z” and “Q”.

The final stage of this mission is where 10 more pairs of volunteers will use the 10 laptops to use the highlighted scans and edit the books and using white-out and replacement vocabulary. I will note that you must make arrangements for drying racks for the whited-out pages, and supply sufficient pens for the project.

Why involve technology? Imagine tired volunteers combing page after page to hunt down letters. With the possibility of drifting minds, there is a high probability of missing offensive instances. The Git and Python code would be foolproof as a computer’s brain is simply black and white — there would be no risk of an error.

I know that time is of the essence… please get back to me as soon as possible so that we can SAVE YOUR BOOKS!

Sincerely,

Liz Pipitone

I'm a wife and mom of three from New Hampshire, usually geeking out over content marketing as the CEO and content manager at Navigation Virtual Solutions, LLC.