Category Archives: Writing

The “Sloppy Copy” That Changed History

School kids learn that the first draft of writing is considered the “sloppy copy.” Rereading and revision is the writing process they are taught to use and it’s a good one. This summer you may see it, especially if a piece of writing is due on the first day of school.

This Fourth of July, tell your child about how thirty-three year old Thomas Jefferson authored the “sloppy copy” of the Declaration of Independence.  It was only after John Adams and Benjamin Franklin suggested revisions that one of our founding documents was ready to change the course of history.

Here’s one view of the Declaration of Independence in it’s “sloppy” form.



Image courtesy of the Library of Congress,

The Lowell Goat’s Tale

A good community story engages readers of all ages, especially when it’s about an escaped animal. Our area had one: the Lowell Goat who escaped slaughter by fleeing from its Tewksbury, MA farm. The goat went on the lam.

Photo by Frank Peabody, Lowell Sun, 12/29/14

Photo by Frank Peabody, Lowell Sun, 12/29/14

The Lowell Sun started a hilarious Twitter feed from the goat. No kidding. A Go Fund Me campaign raised money for his life post-capture. A Facebook page appeared on the goat’s behalf and gained around 1,000 followers.

Throughout January, we read of his sightings. Puns and clever turns of phrase posted about the Lowell Goat ranged from “getting your goat” to “you goat what it takes.” Goat jokes, Photoshopped pictures, videos, and clever comments even attracted local CBS affiliate. Police and animal rescue from other towns teased local police about their abilities as goatbusters.

Even the Dorchester Coyote weighed in.

What strikes me is the wonderful humor people display during a story like this. It unites us into a family, a community, a gathering of imaginative souls. People of all ages smile and maintain a balance of concern for the goat (safely captured) and funny observations, which I believe shows the best of humanity.