Friday, June 3, 2011


I love to go fishing, but I am used to fishing in the lakes and rivers of Indiana – not the salt waters of Puget Sound. I figured it couldn’t be that much different though, so I took a fishing pole, some hooks and some worms down to the pier. I baited my hook and tossed the line in the water.
I waited and waited. Nothing. Wasn’t I supposed to catch a halibut or something?
I waited some more. Nothing. In Indiana I would have had at least a nibble by now.
And just as my mind began to drift away like the Washington State Ferry hauling cars across the sound, my pole lurched forward, and my line tightened.
I tugged and reeled and tugged some more. Whatever was on the end of my line was fighting hard to stay in the water.
When the beast finally surfaced, I could not believe my eyes. I was expecting a fish with fins and gills, not an OCTOPUS with eight arms! Toto, I believe we are not in Indiana anymore.
Not only had I caught an OCTOPUS, but I also found my MUSE! After releasing my new friend back to the cool waters of Puget Sound, I went back to my writer’s studio to research my MUSE. Here is what I found:
The octopus I had caught was a young Giant Pacific Octopus. This species is native to the Puget Sound and are the largest Octopi in the world. They grow up to 33 pounds with an arm span of up to 14 feet.
Octopi are the smartest invertebrate known to man. They have the intelligence of a house cat, and they are known for using problem solving skills. In captivity, octopi have learned how to open jars.
Octopi have superior defense skills. They can squeeze their soft bodies through seemingly impossible cracks. They can change their skin color to match their environment, and they can shoot a cloud of dark ink to confuse a predator. WOW!
The smaller an octopus species is, the more poisonous it is (usually). The most poisonous octopus is the Blue Ringed Octopus. This little guy has enough poison to kill a human being, and they only get four inches long.
Octopi usually eat mollusks and crustaceans, but they have been known to eat each other, too. The Giant Pacific Octopus will sometimes snag a shark for lunch. Now, that’s something to write home about.
And please do not call an octopus’ arms, legs. Spiders have eight legs, octopi have eight arms. And these arms are lined with two rows of suction cups each. They are used for holding onto things and tasting things. Yes, I said tasting.
By the way - Octopi, Octopodes, and Octopuses are all acceptable ways of describing more than one octopus.
With this new knowledge what kind of story could you write? Maybe these “what if” questions will help you get started.
WHAT IF a giant octopus lived under the Tacoma Narrows Bridge? Oops, this legend already exists, but we could embellish it (wink).    
WHAT IF your character woke up one morning and his/her arms and legs had turned into those of an octopus?
WHAT IF your character built a robotic octopus submarine? What would he/she go hunting for underwater?
The possibilities are endless, and please leave your own “what if” questions in the comment section below. I’d love to see what you come up with.
Grab a cup of hot cocoa, a pencil and a piece of paper, and let’s begin. With your imagination we can go anywhere. I look forward to seeing where you take us.
With Imagination,
Prof. Watermelon
P.S. The word of the week is “invertebrate”. Here is the definition: of or pertaining to creatures without a backbone.


  1. Okay, Professor W.
    How did you get it off your line?
    Ms. (official) Smartypants

  2. Well, the hook was actually in the octopus's leg. While trying to get the hook out, the octopus wrapped its legs around my arm. That was interesting....

  3. what if a octopus had 8 of everything and was the biggest in the world what if there was an octopus with only one arm what if an octopus had 18 legs what if an octopus drank coke and pepsi what if an a octopus could walk like a human what if octopus slept like a human.Rhea

  4. what if an octopus could Drink lemonade what if an octopus could drink hot cocoa what if an octopus could eat ice cream what if an octopus had eight eyes what if an octopus could cut a watermelon what if an octopus coul bake a cake what if an octopus could write with a pen what if an octopus could finish all your homework and have it all right what if an octopus could drive a car what if an octopus could fly Janvi

  5. What if an octopus had one million arms? What if all octopi were extinct? What if an octopus was made out of lead? What if an octopus wanted to sleep in your bed at night?

    Chris and Mike Robinson

  6. What if an octopus had 78 arms or no arms? What if they were smarter than humans? What if their poison took over the sea? What if they were square shaped? What if they could sew? What if it had the sharpest teeth in the world? What if it had a box of crayons? What if they had to wear clothes? Sophie R

  7. Hey, Professor, Ezri posted a LOT of questions but none of them made it though. What happened?

  8. What if an octopus had 1.2 billion eyes ?!!! What if an octopus could do all my chores? What if an octopus could swing through the jungle like Tarzan?

  9. what if an octopus danced to hip hop? what if an octopus entered americas got talent? what if an octopus grew a mango tree? what if an octopus had a wii? what if an octopus was aphicology professor? what if an octopus became best friends with a stag beetle? what if an octopus was your favorite author? what if octopi and humans switched places? what if an octopus could ski in the alps? what if an octopus was in your class? what if an octopus was a world famos artist? what if there was an octopus rockstar? what if octopi chased frogs in outerspace? what if an octopus wrote what if questions about people? what if an octopus had an email address? what if your brother was an octopus? what if the titanic ran on octopus ink? what if every game in the world was inspired by octopi? what if an octopus ran with scissors? what if an octopus flew by opening and closing its beak? what if an octopus swallowed the world? what if orions belt was made of octopi? what if an octopus used stilts? what if octopi used melon money? what if octopi scribbled in library books? what if an octopus put bandaids on you, whether you needed them or not? what if you gave an octopus eight hole pnchers? what if an octopus started a band, and played all the parts ( but it didnt sing)? what if an octopus washed windows on skyscrapers? what if an octopus sold shoes? what if an octopus invented tv? what if an octopus was a speed reader? what if an octopus won the nobel prize?


  10. Great job, Creative writers! You came up with some great "what if" questions. Hopefully, you can turn some of those "what if's" into stories during our camp this week!

    I'm very proud of you! See you soon!

  11. What if a octopus was green?
    What if a octopus was good at math?
    What if a octopus said "I want fish"?