In this time of lockdown, one of the interesting things to note is what sorts of activities have become popular and what sorts of products are getting increased sales. And as far as I can tell, from both first and second hand evidence, one of these is jigsaw puzzles.
The second hand evidence I’m basing this presumption on is media reports. I’ve seen a number of newspaper and television stories detailing the rising appeal and consequential sales boost of these puzzles.
The first hand evidence I have comes from my own household. Our loungeroom is like a gallery of jigsaw puzzles, with the completed (and not so completed) results displayed in triumph over the floor. And requests for more puzzles, because the ones we own have been completed so many times, are becoming difficult to action because retailers are out of stock and waiting times are long.
Jigsaws are fun. I’m not averse to sitting down for a few hours and gradually figuring out how the pieces fit together. But if I find ourselves lacking in new puzzles, or other family members are already taking over the ones we have, it’s not a problem. Because a jigsaw is just one of the many types of puzzles I like to solve.
I’ve already posted on this site about how much I enjoy doing crossword puzzles, especially cryptics. And I also enjoy solving sudokus, as well as any kinds of word or number puzzles I can lay my hands on.
But there’s one particular type of puzzle that is always my favourite to solve. And the name of that puzzle is: story.
They say that one of the key elements of constructing a story is setting up a character and giving them a problem to solve. And in some ways, I’m exactly like that character. In order to help them solve their problem, I have a bunch of problems I need to solve. Who is that character? What is their problem? How are they going to solve it? And how can I turn this into a story that people are going to want to read?
Putting all of this together is like solving a big puzzle with lots of different pieces. Sometimes, you solve one bit and the rest all falls into place. Sometimes, you solve one bit and are confronted with a bunch of additional problems. Either way, the process of working through the whole puzzle is one of my favourite ways to pass the time.
So you can stick to your jigsaw puzzles. As long as I’ve got stories to write, I’ve always got a heap of puzzles to solve.
Posted by Jonathan Gould and tagged as