When Life Gives You Lemons… or Stuffed Animals… or Swords…

Yesterday, I mentioned that I’d fallen victim to the horrible and dastardly influences of Japanese media, and been brainwashed into buying pencils and a sketchbook and stuff and returning to doodling and drawing, which I haven’t done in… over a decade.

Well, there’s a funny story in there…

As you may know, my normal writing instrument of choice is the fountain pen. I have a number of them, many of them vintage. When I took up drawing, I picked up some good old-fashioned wooden drawing pencils in various degrees of hardness… but I also picked up lead for a lovely old mechanical pencil that came as part of a set I got years ago.

How old is “old”? It’s a Sheaffer pencil in striped celluloid, which takes 0.9mm lead, dating it to WWII. With replacement lead (Pentel makes 0.9mm 2B lead, great for drawing), it works as beautifully as it looks. As you might expect from a pencil that’s coming up on its seventieth birthday, the original eraser… doesn’t.

But that’s okay, because, believe it or not, Sheaffer still makes replacements that fit it.

And so, eager to have an awesome vintage drawing tool that I can take with me places where a knife or pencil sharpener wouldn’t be appropriate, I ordered a package of the erasers on Amazon.

Two days later (I’m a Prime member, free two-day shipping, whoo!) I received…

…a relatively enormous box, given that it was supposed to be holding a half-dozen erasers. But therein is the catch – there were no erasers in the box. Nope, they’d sent me…

A stuffed doll.

I didn’t get angry, or anything. This is only the second time Amazon have ever screwed up an order of mine in something like five years, and, you know, the erasers were like six bucks.

I knew if I contacted Amazon they’d tell me to return it and that they’d be really sorry and they’d send me the actual erasers, blah blah blah. It’d cost more to ship the dumb thing back than it would to just order another pack of erasers and hope.

But, I wondered. What if.

What if… it’s a sign?

What if the universe wants me to have a doll? What if this isn’t a mistake, but some brilliantly obscure act of fate and/or destiny? If I’m supposed to have a doll – if it will someday soon be imperative, even vital, that I have a doll – I could risk, you know, the destruction of the universe by returning it or throwing it away.

Okay, it’s slightly unlikely. And I spent a day or two trying to figure out how a doll could be useful, but nothing really came to me.

As far as cryptic hints that you’re destined for greatness, the random appearance of a doll doesn’t give you much to go on.

But, suppose it hadn’t been a doll that fate and/or Amazon had bestowed upon me. What if it had been a little more cool, a little more awesome. What if it had been… a sword?

Anyway, I thought about that for a day or two, then sat down, wrote out seven pages of notes and outlines, and eventually wrote an 11,000-word novella called Stanley and His Sword, which you can purchase on Amazon for the Kindle (who says irony is dead?) and at SmashWords for most other e-book platforms.

It’s a hilarious, entertaining modern-day fairy tale that considers what would happen if the universe and/or Amazon created heroes by randomly bestowing swords on everyday people yet to face their crowning moment of greatness.

So, there you go. Nobody ever actually asks me “where do you get your ideas?”, but, man, if anyone ever does, I’ve got a heck of an answer…

Published in: Geekiness, General | on July 29th, 2011| No Comments »

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