One of the beautiful things about language is that it can be interpreted in so many different ways. It can have many meanings. What one sentence says to one person, to another might say something completely different. Consider that the written word also has tone and voice and gestures just like the spoken word does.
I am currently in Bali on a study tour and am loving reading the different menus and shop signs that might not make complete sense, but you can still understand their intended meaning. Sort of. Yesterday I walked by a shop front that had a really big fluorescent green sticker that read ‘40%’ and that was it. I thought to myself, ‘40% of what?’, but of course they would have meant 40% off stock, right? Even if that’s not what it meant, at least it would make for an interesting conversation with every new customer. Or perhaps a new addition to a site like Engrish?
Of course, this post intends only to illustrate my adoration of things lost in translation, and I do not intend in any way to poke fun. As they say, variety is the spice of life, and you shouldn’t take things too seriously – why else do sites like Damn You Auto Correct have such popularity?
What am I getting at here you ask? Well, consider that you want to write a submission piece for Visible Ink this year but you don’t feel you understand the theme. Remember, there is no one interpretation of something. There are many. Perhaps endless options – depending on who you ask!
So, what are you meant to write about for ‘After the rain’? Well, what thoughts come to mind? For me, I think of sayings with the word rain in them. Like ‘Raining cats and dogs’ for example. Where did this weird phrase come from? There are many websites and different hypotheses on the derivation of phrases, but website The Phrase Finder gave one possible origin of this saying as that it may have derived from mythology.
The site says: ‘Dogs and wolves were attendants to Odin, the god of storms, and sailors associated them with rain. Witches, who often took the form of their familiars – cats, are supposed to have ridden the wind.’ Now, why then, could you not write a piece incorporating some mythology of Odin? Or, witches riding the wind in a modern day setting?
What about songs with the word rain in them? How about ‘It’s Raining Men’ by the Weather Girls somehow intermingled with the modern day usage of dating app Tinder? How about the live video clip of Tina Turner (god love her) singing ‘I Can’t stand the Rain’ and how much fun she is having dancing around in some silvery slinky number that shows off her amazing legs? Surely that should get the creative juices flowing – after all, Tina is simply the best!
Isn’t there some brilliant scene in the 1997 movie Volcano where it rains acid and they all have to escape to cover? I may have just made that up, but that’s not the point. The point is, you can take the theme ‘After the rain’ and interpret it any way you like. All we would really like to see is that you have made an attempt to link the theme to your writing somehow. It’s fun, truly. I’m now very distracted listening to old Tina Turner tracks, but oh what fun!
Jane Sprague, 2015