In school, we were often given an image to serve as inspiration for a creative writing piece.
Usually the only restraints would be a word goal, or page length.
I used to love these tasks.
One time when I was twelve, my teacher handed out this image of a woman who was asleep. Beside her was a book with vines growing out of it.
In my story, the woman who was asleep in the image was a maid in a small castle.
She wasn’t important, but she loved to read.
She would sneak into the library whenever she could to smell the books, and when she could, read a few chapters.
One day, she came across a book with no title and a vine pattern all over the spine. Intrigued, she took it back to her quarters and started to read.
She became compelled to continue reading, becoming distracted at her duties. One night, vines began to grow out of the middle of the book, cocooning her.
Every time we did one of these exercises, my interpretation was always different to the rest of the class.
I’m talking as different as a pear and asphalt.
I always thought it was because I ‘didn’t get it’. That I always managed to miss the point somehow.
So it wasn’t much of a surprise that after my teacher had read these stories she had something to say about mine.
She told the class that my story was the only story to write about the vines growing out of the book.
I don’t recall what everyone else wrote about, but from memory their stories were all similar.
I remember feeling stupid. Why had I overlooked the obvious angle to the image?
I recently found this story, and the accompanying image that served as inspiration.
There is a note written on the last page: ‘A stunning story. Well done, I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. A+’.
Somehow, I’ve always overlooked that note.
I’ve always thought that I couldn’t offer my opinions because they tended to vary so much from everyone else’s.
I’ve always thought that it meant I was wrong.
But in the last couple of weeks, I’ve realised something.
My interpretation wasn’t ‘wrong’. It was different.
My opinions aren’t pointless. They’re different.
My take on the world isn’t stupid. It’s different.
And it’s the same for you.
Maybe you have this one thing you think is stupid.
Maybe you think the way you write is too different.
Maybe you think your art is no good.
Maybe you, like me, have let the belief that what you create or do isn’t any good dictate your opinion of yourself.
There is no one in the world that sees it how you do.
The world is hurting, lonely and lost.
A different take on the world might be exactly what the world needs.

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