An unmarked box

an unmarked boxA box.  Unmarked.  The lid is firmly on.  What’s inside it? It’s a box of ideas.  It looks plain and boring, but in reality if you lift the lid and peep inside you will find a whole new world.  More than that: thousands of new worlds, each with its own story and characters.

Open the lid and it looks like a mirror inside.  But look closely and you notice it’s not a true reflection.  Instead, there are small changes.  Nothing drastic, but enough to alter the story and provide a new ending.  Follow the new story if you wish, or reject it and move on to the next.  Time can vanish as you peer into the corners and find the hidden secrets.

Many people ignore the box.  They see the plain lid and then move on, never lifting the lid and looking inside.  Their life is simpler and more tedious.

Others spend so long studying the angles and reflections that they lose themselves and merge into the new world. Their life is full of excitement and twists and turns, but that becomes the norm.

The happiest ones are those who learn to lift the lid just a crack and see what’s inside, absorb a fraction of the contents and then drop the lid again, content to remain with their memories for a while, until again life pushes them to find more, and again they find themselves lifting the lid.

What am I talking about? Is it imagination? or is it a real box?  Does this box actually exist, somewhere hidden but sought after? It holds everything that writers search for: a box full of ideas, waiting to be grasped and pulled out into the world, shaped and set down for all to enjoy.

Would you buy such a box? Guaranteed story ideas?  Would that make it too simple? Is part of the pleasure of writing searching for the ideas? Or is the pleasure to be had in putting the words together, expressing the ideas that exist?  Can you separate the created item from the act of creation?

Let’s lift the lid on the box for a moment and peer inside.  What do we see? We see the world reflected around us, but with small changes.  So the zombie crawl isn’t a group of people dressed up, but the inevitable outcome of genetic manipulation of a disease, an attempt at a cure that kills the disease but also the brain, leaving the body to roam mindlessly around seeking what it does not have.  So the cat who miaows for his food starts to speak in human words, to declare his impatience for his attendant who does not respond quickly enough to demands.  So the guitar sitting in the corner is a magic guitar: anyone who picks it up can play marvellous tunes on it.  Its player becomes famous, but before a large concert a string breaks.  Will the guitar ever be the same again?  Will he be able to play other guitars?  Will the magic carry over or is it gone forever?

Every story has untold endings, ready to be explored.  Start off any story, then find another ending – they’re all inside the box.  What if… what if…. what if…… And each branch springs off in a new direction, until you are hopelessly lost and struggling to find your way back, or you submit and allow yourself to sink through and come out the other side.

For anyone who hasn’t a clue what I’m on about, it’s called free writing following a prompt.  I know of at least one person who will recognise where I’m coming from 😉

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1 Comment

  1. He he he…..mine turned into a parcel bomb! Lol



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