‘What if …’ is a phrase that fuels my imagination often – sometimes beyond my own belief.
Take any ‘accepted’ situation and turn it on it’s head. When you’ve done that, add another ‘what if’ to that. Such tricks of the imagination fill my head with fanciful thoughts of how things, could have been, should have been – if only … and right there you have the makings of a chapter, a story, a novel.
The earliest personal example that I can recall of ‘what if’s’, came to me during an English Composition lesson back when I was around 12 years old. The teacher asked the class to write a story based on how life could change on the turn of a simple event.
Here then, a brief synopsis of that 12-year-old’s story:
A young woman is sitting alone in a cafe, the waiter is just about to deliver a cup of coffee to her table but a fly wafts across her face, she swings an arm, knocking the hot coffee out of the waiters hand and into the lap of the guy at the table beside her. To cut the story short, the couple eventually marry. Later they have a son. The son becomes the President of The United States of America and, on the verge of all-out nuclear war with Russia, he finds a way to save the world.
So, you may think, the ‘what if’ would be ‘what if she hadn’t swung her arm around at that fly?’ But mine was, what if someone else had killed that fly first. The scenario then becomes: A man narrowly misses swatting a fly – how could this save the world?
We none of know how much good or ill we bring to this planet.
A little later, at around age 14, it appears my imagination was going a little wilder in a science class when the teacher was pointing out the similarity between the structure of a molecule and our solar system. So, like some loon, I dared stick my hand up and said, “So we could all be part of someone else’s dining chair then, sir!” The laughter that followed from the whole class quashed any desire for me to make any such outrageous statements out loud again – but ‘what if’ we were? We could all be destined for some intergalactic bonfire at any time – couldn’t we?
We none of us know how much good or ill we bring to someone else’s planet!