Swirling Stardust into the Universe by Ivan BrownOtter

Lev Grossman said in his essay Benedictus: Thoughts on Being a Writer and Having Children (hat tip to Austin Kleon):

“I think of children sort of like Voyager probes, except instead of sending them out into space you send them forward in time. They carry messages from your civilization inside them, on into the weirdness of the future.”

Here’s one by Ivan BrownOtter, and it’s for the teachers and the children. It’s for you, too; you who have stories yearning to be told.

Photo courtesy Brian Landis

Swirling Stardust into the Universe

For writing class
I have an old olive jar full of
blue-curved commas
rosy-pink periods
and silvery-semicolons
for children to shape their stories

The kids pour the punctuation marks into their cupped hands
but instead of putting the marks in all the right places they sprinkle them across their pages like the Great Spirit
swirling stardust into the Universe

With a fanciful sense of well done
the kids turn in their stories
eager to tell their tales
always finishing with
big capital letters


Toast was a weekly email newsletter that ran from July 2018 to March 2019. All of the pieces from Toast’s run and more can be read in Solo Novo 5/6.

  • Glenna Luschei, Abiding Publisher and Editor Emeritus
  • Benjamin Daniel Lawless, Editor in Chief
  • Tom Harrington, Contributing Editor
  • Rena Ferro, Managing Editor
  • Brian Landis, Photographer and Advisor