Outside the box


We all get too comfortable sometimes. We get in a rut, a niche.  We wallow in its comfort. We never want to leave.  Ideas get stale.  New ideas are harder to come up with.  We build walls within our own minds.

Bi-monthly, Shock Totem gives its writers a chance to think out of the box with unique prompts for a flash contest.  The first prompt was a single word, the next a series of them.  The last contest prompt were some unique photos, post-mortem tin types from the early 1900s.  This month was a song.

At first listen, I could not stand it.  The words jumbled, the tune discordant. It was nothing that I would even consider enjoying.  I studied the lyrics instead, picked out a few lines, but nothing jumped out at me to make into a story.  Frustrated, I wondered if I would even participate. 

Saturday, I made myself listen to the song again, and again, and again. 

I still didn’t like the song, however something changed.  I didn’t listen to the music or even concentrate on the words.  I concentrated on the phrasing.  How the vocals were put together.  Then suddenly, the words made a bit more sense.  The music behind the  lines made more sense.

I had concentrated more on my dislike of the song, than the meaning it was trying to portray.  Closed ears  do not listen. 

So now I have most of a story, put together in pieces as I had time.  I carefully picked out words from the images in my head.  It will probably not reach the 1,000 words, but that is okay.  Sometimes less is better.  I’ll finish it today.  Read it out loud at lunch. Then again before I submit it.

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