# 24 I like the idea of being a spinner of plates and stories. Here’s a Way Back story about how I got to be a plate spinner; I’m still working on the story-spinning.
Running away ISN’T in my game-plan (right now at least); but, if I did run away, I’d join the circus. I could be a plate spinner. (The Ring Master would announce me this way: Isabel Scheherazade, Spinner of Plates and Stories.)
I can spin two plates on two poles; Dad and I were working on adding one more—three poles, three plates. I stopped breaking plates once I understood how the physics of how to keep the plate twirling, and…um…also when I switched to brightly colored, glow-in-the-dark plastic spinning plates.
Here’s how it works: Plate spinning, according to Dad, relies on the gyroscopic effect. To help me understand gyroscopic, Dad and I lie on the floor and watch a toy top. It spins from the side, Isabel. When the energy’s on the right side, the top’s heavier on that side and tries to fall over. But! It doesn’t because the weight moves to the left side and tries to make it fall that way.
I watch so hard my eyes almost crack. I say to Dad, And that keeps it upright?
Until the friction between the top and the wood floor slows the spin–see, it’s wobbling left to right now?
The top fell over, but I got up and spun my first plate!
Dad was a good explainer.
I tell Pop how Dad’s description of the gyroscopic effect helped me. We’re watching Clyde and Sam get their tops spinning. Pop tells me he’ll try to follow Dad’s example and explain things.
You could start with explanations about HEARINGS, Pop, I almost say. But don’t.
Since Dad’s murder, I haven’t practiced plate-spinning—I’d need to practice if I ran away to the circus—but I like using the plate-spinning metaphor whenever I’m feeling burdened with chores, which I’m not really. For sure I’d never consider emancipating myself. Poor Oliver.
(sketches by my friend Ryan)