One of my math posts was linked from a social media site the other day, which brought a nice spike in traffic. There’s a large audience out there that wants to read good treatments of interesting math problems–there are large audiences for almost anything on the internet. I wish I had enough time to write a math blog like that. It’s an idea that has rattled around in my head for a long time, but I’m afraid that it will never happen. Writing technical material clearly and with the right tone takes a lot of time, to say nothing of selecting good problems and producing useful graphics or other accompanying material.
There’s another blog I’d like to write, or at least read: a mashup of grown-up art, literature, and culture with children’s art and literature. Who wouldn’t want to read posts like The Physics and Metaphysics of Dinosaur Train or Identity and Self Invention in Harold and the Purple Crayon and The Monster at the End of this Book?
The real chance of a viral hit would be in going the other direction. There are plenty of adaptations for children of classic literature–The Nutcracker is one of Elena’s favorites–but the range is very limited; nobody takes risks. Who will write (and illustrate) the board book version of In Search of Lost Time? It might start like this:
This is Marcel. Sometimes he has a hard time falling asleep. All he wants is for his mother to come give him a goodnight kiss, but she stays up late with the grown-ups.
Marcel and his family spend the summer with his grandma and his aunt. They take the train from Paris to the countryside. They know they’re getting close when they can see the church steeple.
Marcel loves to read so much that someday he wants to be a writer. But whenever he tries to write, he can’t think of anything to say.
Marcel and his family take walks nearly every day. They have two favorite paths. They take the shorter one when it looks like rain, but when the weather is clear they leave early and go the long way.
With just a few simple illustrations it could be a hit! There must be hundreds of works of classic and contemporary literature that would be great fun to adapt for children.