I was thinking about bottles recently and what an extraordinary invention they are. Bottles are beautiful. There are green glass bottles. Tiny cobalt blue bottles. Clear bottles. Short squat amber ones that you’d find in an apothecary. Hand blown bottles from Venice. Chianti bottles from Italy. Stainless steel bottles. Exquisite perfume bottles. Round, thin, long-necked, wide-bottomed… bottles come in just about every shape, color, size imaginable. And their purposes are inexhaustible.
Almost like people.
Do you remember the first time you saw a ship in a bottle? Wasn’t that the most amazing, impossible vision, when you didn’t have a clue how the ship got inside?
How often have you wondered how a genie exists in a bottle? What kind of place does a being who can grant you three wishes create for itself? Is it fiery and steamy inside, or murky, or filled with opulence and fragrance?
Sometimes I imagine the odd world of Twitter to be like messages sent in bottles – millions of them, bobbing through space and time onto a screen, rather than through salty waves and currents onto a beach.
Fun Writing Practice
Imagine this: You are on a lush island, sitting under a palm tree on a silk-sand beach. You have seven small pieces of paper and a pencil. You also have seven small bottles with sturdy corks in each.
Every morning, for seven days, write a brief message that would be inserted into one of the bottles and tossed into the ocean. What would you write down, if you wanted to communicate the most important thing in the world at that moment? Imagine that your message would be retrieved by a stranger on a shore in a far-off land.
Sometimes our conversations, and writings, and even are thoughts, are just too noisy. Pare down the excess, stop trying to communicate too much, take a deep breath and go slow. Take it easy.
If there was only one thing to say, and it was to a stranger, what would it be?
- Swimming in the lake at Kidbrooke Mansion
- Feeling optimistic
- Clearing skies over Mount Fuji
- Seeing yourself as a child
- Rain drops on black boughs and twigs
- Flying east, into the dawn
- Heavy velvet drapes