Hello friends! In my last entry, I detailed the experience of opening a present Emily had given me for our six month-iversary, and waiting to open her card because of the infinite possibility it represented. Today, I’d like to tell you about the card and the story it led me to write 🙂
Remember, this package was labeled “open when you need some inspiration”. Once I finally opened the card within, I found an invitation to take the Emily McKeown writing challenge! Uh, heck yes! There were 10 separate challenges included in the card, each labeled a number from 1 to 10. The card told me to pick a number from 1 to 10, read the instructions for that challenge only, and take no more than two minutes to brainstorm before writing, once I had my inspiration. I picked the second challenge.
Challenge two told me to 1) go to a baby name generator online and pick a name at random, 2) look up the meaning of that name, and 3) write about a character perfectly suited to that name.
The first name that popped out was “Struan” (I had never heard of it either). When I looked up the name, I found that it meant “the flow at the point where a spring appears.” I interpreted that to mean the origin point for something that grows from there. My mind took off from there. What is the struan the origin of? What does it grow into? Two minutes later, I wrote the following story. Hope you like it! Thanks for the inspiration Emily 🙂
Struan left school that Friday afternoon, daydreaming down the sidewalk. Her eyes were glued to the page of a novel. Why can’t I be like one of those characters, she wondered, so adventurous, brave, and bold? She felt like none of those adjectives described her, and she’d have settled for one. It came to her then, an idea, grander and more radiant than anything she had ever known, an explosion of possibility.
Her walk may have ended when she reached her bedroom, but her mind continued to race, like an uncontrollable freight train. She liked it. Struan started jotting down her thoughts at length, none complete, but each catching a new facet of her idea before it fluttered away. Later that evening, her mom knocked on the door to let her know that dinner was ready. She found Struan scribbling away at the pages, her hand cramping, but showing no signs of slowing down. Spotting her mom, Struan’s idea came tumbling out of her like raging rapids. Her mom was excited, but anxious at the same time, for she knew her daughter had dreamed up something big. She cautioned Struan against sharing her idea until she fully understood it, but Struan’s excitement would not be contained.
The next day, despite her mother’s warnings, Struan told everyone she could about her idea, and it soon spread like wildfire. Before she knew it, acquaintances were stopping her in the hall to tell her abut this crazy, revolutionary idea they had heard, not realizing she was its mother. Like a runaway train, it matters little where it began, and far more where it is headed.
Upon arrival at school on the third day, Struan’s excitement had abated, giving way to clear minded observation. What she witnessed was sobering. This idea, so pure and hopeful in its infancy, had grown beyond her power to control, and in its expansion, the purity had been lost. What once was clear and shining had become murky and twisted. The whispers she heard on that day were different than those relayed only a day before, malignant. Like a grand case of telephone, the idea had been changed from person to person, both out of misunderstanding and self-interest, and what remained was only a shade of what she had originally hoped.
No, she cried, and she struck back defiantly, struggling to clarify and reshape. She grabbed her classmates by the arms and screamed, striving valiantly to fight the tide, but she quickly realized that it was too late. Her idea was not hers any longer. She could only watch as the idea ran its course, part of her hoping it would die, but another part longing to watch it grow. She was reminded of Alfred Nobel, who invented dynamite as an instrument of peace, only to see it used as a means to further war.
On the walk home from school that day, Struan’s focus was flooded by thoughts once again, unable to distract herself from the idea she had unleashed. Only when she tripped off a curb did she realize how mindlessly she had been striding. Picking herself up, she found herself in the middle of an empty intersection. A swift breeze pushed at her back. She looked in all four directions, each one taking her down a different path. It occurred to her suddenly that, while her dream had failed, she had succeeded. She had become adventurous, brave, and even bold, but at what cost? What would her idea lead to?