Thursday, August 14


puzzles make very neat metaphors. much like black boxes, the concept could be hiding almost anywhere. and like so, so many other words (wave, pencil, etc.) it is both a noun and a verb.

you don't exactly puzzle a puzzle though. you solve it, if you can.

most of the time we puzzle over other stuff: puzzling, bewildering things that may or not literally be puzzles.

this week I am puzzling over the syllabus I'm supposed to be polishing up and the worthiness of owning this or that sort of gas-powered vehicle.

literal puzzles are more fun. they have such low stakes and predetermined answers. the crossword kind might be my favourite. mm.
{ photo via this kind soul on flickr. }

I think words are more interesting than paintings... but jigsaws can be just the thing if you've got the space and a few uninterrupted weekends with family.

so many kinds of puzzles, there are. once upon a time ten years ago friend Wilson introduced me to this infamously most difficult of all internet riddles. I didn't finish it.

a few days ago I ran across this maddening puzzle via twitter. I spent a few stop-and-go days getting up to level 31. I have been there for ages now. please, if anyone gets past this one... tell me the secret.
it must be solvable. I just can't figure it out yet.

regular life is not a jigsaw or a game, I don't think. definitely not one with neat, pre-cut, smooth-edged pieces. no... life is more like this image from a poem I read recently:
When the wind comes, and the snow repeats us,
 / how like our warped lives it is,
Melting objects, disappearing sounds,
Like lichen on gnarled rocks.
For we have lived in the wind, and loosened ourselves like ice
 / melt.
Nothing can hold us, I've come to know. 
it's from "My Old Clinch Mountain Home" by Charles Wright. his book Caribou was on the new books shelf (how I love new books shelves) at the library and I brought it home, not expecting much. I like it though. I didn't get the line spacing quite right in my excerpt, but hopefully the language conjures something poignant for you anyway. as I was thinking about puzzles and their solutions, this poem countered with its un-polished un-clear scenery. wind and water melting and eating away at everything, transforming and being transformed. all of that seems very, very beyond a puzzle.

we like puzzles so much because they have answers and we can hold those answers in our heads and hands and figure them out. this Vsauce video on games gets at this idea, comparing/contrasting life and play. we can win at Poker or Chess or Tennis... but how can we tell if anyone ever wins at Justice or Teenagerhood or Making A Difference? games and life don't work the same. unless they do...

unless it's only that nobody's figured out exactly how yet.

No comments: