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The Three-Second Forest

March 15, 2012

The band of travellers left the peculiar girl behind in the town, and continued on their way.  They trudged through the forest for three gruelling days, and at last, on the fourth sunrise they emerged, exhausted.

To find the girl sitting cross-legged on a stone wall, reading a book.

“What – ?”

“How in the world – ?”

“Is there a  shortcut?”

The girl carefully dog-eared the page of her book and turned her unnerving stare on the companions.  “No, I came by the forest road.”

“But that took us three days and three nights to traverse!”

“Look behind you. “

They turned and tried to see what she was seeing.

“That stretch of forest is so dull it takes about three seconds to get through.  It doesn’t even have an adjective.

Had it been ‘the enchanted forest’ or somesuch I expect there would have been an encounter with a mythical creature that might have bumped it up to twenty minutes.  Or perhaps a kidnapping and a waylaying.  But no, you just came right through, in about three seconds.”

The character from the original story evolved into a being that was aware of her own imaginary/real existence, and that of the world she was in. I was inundated with ideas for this new version, but I hesitated to write more than just notes.  She was still a confused and displaced girl on a perpetual search for reason/meaning/belonging, and all I could see down her road was melodramatic traps. I would much rather something quirky and fun – she has to be a not-human, more constructed.

One day, out of a few shapes on a sketch pad and a haze of afternoon boredom, a creature came together.  He had on a hood, a gas mask, goggles; his limbs were long and thin; his suit meant business.  He also had a story that came together in the type of delayed-response conversation you have on Facebook (a special nod to my valued associates*).  He is The Bouncer, and he has his own page now under  ‘Sketches’ (look to the right.)

Days later another appeared on the side of a procrastinated to-do list.  Everything about his posture described a particular mannerism and he became the Aviator.

There are now many more of these begoggled creatures, all different shapes and sizes, each with their secret little lives.

And just a few days ago, in a synaptic firing akin to a tesla coil discharging, my creative brain made the connection.  So I took my lost and confused girl and made a paper doll out of her.  I changed confused to curious, displaced to no-place, wanderer to explorer.  I gave her a pair of goggles and everything she’ll ever need:  paper and ink.


*More than once I’ve been rewarded for getting over my shyness to share my nonsense and scribbles – people have amazing insights when riffing in a virtual-group environment.

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