a few of months ago, i came across a blog post entitled “100 Days of Flash Fiction Prompts.” at that time, i just knew i was going to write a book by the end of 2017, so i downloaded the prompts to use for practice and inspiration. now that i’ve started this blog, i’ve pushed my goal of being a published fiction author to the back burner, but upon revisiting the prompts, they inspired me in another way. when i sat down to write with the first prompt, i wrote not a fictional short story, but a non-fiction musing. at least, that’s what i’m going to call it. there is something about writing in the third person that keeps me honest and open (#SpreadingAuthenticity, anyone?), and the process allows me to use my creativity to cleanse myself of thoughts that i often refuse to verbalize aloud. once they are on paper (or computer screen), i can go along my merry way and revisit them later without internalizing them. i wanted to share this musing with you in order to show you another way that i use creativity: for catharsis.
original prompt in bold.
She liked to fit people into the world like puzzle pieces. She wanted their edges to descend perfectly into the precut spots she had created for them. Rather, into the life she had created for herself. Those who had wronged her (or who she had wronged) were tossed out of the puzzle with no consideration to what or where they wanted to be. Those whom she loved enjoyed positions of prominence. Her family and close friends lined the edges, not because they were unimportant, but because they were so important that she needed them to hold her together. To give her boundaries. To keep her in check, so to speak. They were the only ones who she would allow to do such a thing. Toward the center were her students and mentees; they reminded her of her purpose in life. In the exact middle was her child. The one she loved the absolute most in her world. The one she lived for on the days that she no longer wanted to live. The one she got up for when all she wanted to do was stay down.
Her only problem was that, predictably, the pieces refused to stay where she wanted to put them. Her life was definitely a puzzle, and although she had created it, the solution was foreign to her. The puzzle pieces kept rearranging themselves: every now and then, a piece from the outskirts would make its way back into the picture; some edges separated themselves from the puzzle altogether, never to be seen again; and some of those in the center escaped from the puzzle against her will. The only constant was her child.
As the puzzle that was her life kept changing and the pieces kept shifting, she slowly but surely realized she was not the puzzle’s mistress. She had minimal control over where the pieces decided to fit. What she did have control over was her reaction to how the pieces shifted. She learned to take change in stride, and she realized that change was the only constant in the puzzle that was her life. Once she accepted that fact, she stopped trying to fit others into the world and allowed them to come and go as people do. Because life may be a puzzle. But she is not a puzzle mistress. And people are not puzzle pieces.
❤️ lauren dee.