Saturday, May 10, 2008

Writer's Island

Writer's Island writing prompts appear each Friday. This week's second prompt is "fantasy." Any genre of writing is acceptable; the idea is just to apply the seat of your pants to your chair and WRITE.
On the theme of fantasy I submit an allegory.

"Fantasy: noun plural: fan-ta-sies
Definition #8. A coin issued especially by a questionable authority and not intended for use as currency." from The Free Dictionary, by Farlex

Imagine cupping your hands to receive coins from someone. You can feel the cool smoothness of each coin, the weight of them as they pile in your hands. You are young and small and unsure of what the coins are for. The giver is someone older, someone who has much authority over you.
You carry these coins with you over the years, always feeling them hit your thigh and hearing them jingle in your pocket as you trudge through life. Sometimes when you are alone, you take them out and examine them. They are intricately wrought with years of grime showing on the edges.
You use these coins in many and various ways as you go along in life, moving among others and interacting with them. As you mature, the coins become the only things you use in your negotiations with the world. People may sometimes cast them onto the ground or throw them back at you. They never really seem to work well as means of getting what you need and want. but they all your worth is in them. Other people use their coins when dealing with you, and you notice, with irritation, how inadequate your system is. These coins, you think, these coins really aren't worth much at all.
One day you meet someone who carries only a few coins in his pocket. He shows them to you, points out what he likes about each one and tells you how his few coins are of immeasurable value. Not only that, but he always has enough no matter how many he uses in his daily dealings with others.
Walking along a road after your meeting with this person, you begin to think about your coins. Where did they come from? It's been so long you hardly remember. They weren't really given to you but forced upon you, and without thought or explanation. The giver was a sour individual who, nevertheless, insisted that you take the coins as your means of having something in life. Were the coins a gift given freely, or a burden transferred?
Questions such as these keep you thinking as you continue your way. How did the man you met manage on so few coins? And his coins were brightly clean and spare in decoration, unlike your own tarnished, crusted ones. He seemed, if anything, much better off than you, despite his rather poorer circumstances.
What are such coins really worth?
Eventually you try leaving the coins behind you as you go along the way. Some are tossed into clear streams or rushing rivers, others are cast deep into pits among rocks. And you notice two things: the fewer of your own coins you have, the lighter your journey, and, whenever you really need them, new, brightly clean and spare ones are given to you, a few at a time. Were they there all this time but you never saw them as you counted and fretted over the old ones?
One day you pull out your coins and look them over, and something astonishes you. Only a few old coins remain among the new! These old coins are very useful, as good as the new ones and much better than the old ones. The years continue, and the new coins dim with age but never lose their luster or their value. You live like a king on what you have, knowing that your needs will never exceed their supply, or perhaps that the supply will always be adequate for your needs.
You realize that sometimes people pass along fantasies, coins without any real use as currency, and that they do so because that is all they have and all they know. You also realize that some folks never want to look for new coins; they may even deny they exist. Fantasies will not take you far or well in life. They must be let go in order to receive what is real.


1 comment:

Just Jen said...

wow, this is deep...I mean the idea of the coins...I think I have coins of immeasurable value :D
at least today I think