Last Friday I decided to focus the session all loosely around the theme of Play, a huge topic, and in my opinion not in the LEAST frivolous. Play is where we’re allowed to make mistakes, to imagine, to interact, to know it’s ‘just’ a game, and thereby experience freedom, and thereby let in and welcome new insights without having to seriously and earnestly seek them out in an exhausting quest for ‘truth’, because we can’t seek out what we don’t yet know exists, and Play opens us to possibility, to the new and unknown. It loosens us up. Einstein used to play his violin, when he was a bit stuck with a theory. I’m sure there are other similar examples of clever minds using play to free their thoughts, so they can travel a bit further.
The prompt I’d like to share is super simple. I asked each writer to take a couple of pieces of paper, and write on each one a message that might conceivably be found in a bottle. I then asked one person to pick one of those messages, and read it aloud. We then all wrote a story inspired by that message being found in a bottle. Amazing how varied the imaginative responses to the same phrase! However, for now I can only share mine, unedited, written in ten minutes, just for the fun of it…enjoy 🙂
What goes around comes around. Or so they say. What were the odds? How many stars in the sky! But life can be funny like that.
The first warmer weather of the year had taken them out in the boat, and although his daughter was a little nervous at first, she was soon trailing her fingers in the sea, no longer alarmed by the rocking action of the boat in the gentle waves.
It was when they were coming back, slowed down to avoid hitting the rocks on the way back to the beach, “Dad! Dad! A bottle!”
It was caught in the rocks. It was green, no longer with a label, but looked like a beer bottle. “Get it Dad, there’s something in it! Get it!”
He jumped out of the boat, the water now shallow enough for him to walk, holding the wooden rim, oars safely in, and picked the bottle out of the rocks.
“Here,” he offered. “Open it.” There was a pop as she flipped the rusty old lid, and pulled out the paper inside.
“I can’t read it,” she says, offering it to him. Impossible.
“Dad, read it! What does it say?”
He doesn’t know why, but in his shock he’s not prepared to tell the truth. “You will always be lucky, when you’re near the sea – always make your home by the coast.”
“It doesn’t. It didn’t have that many words. What does it say?
“Surrounded by sharks! Help!”
HIs own handwriting, from, must’ve been ten years ago. A silly bit of fun on his honeymoon, with the wife he’d since lost. What had she written? He couldn’t remember. He lifted his daughter out of the boat, and told her the story.
Here’s the TED talk I watched that morning, before leading the writing group. I’ve returned to it a couple of times. It always makes me laugh…
If you enjoyed this prompt, then you can find more here: