The Glassblower and Her Creations – Using Ambiguity in Writing

In a city somewhere, there lived a wise storyteller who often shared tales with the townspeople. One day, she gathered a crowd in the town square and began:

“Once, there was a glassblower who crafted exquisite vases. Each day, she would place her creations in different parts of her workshop to see how they reacted to the light. Some vases were placed in dark corners, where they remained unnoticed and collected dust. Others were set on narrow shelves, where they wobbled and often fell, shattering into pieces. Some were placed near open windows, where they gleamed brightly for a time but were soon covered in grime from the city streets. But a few special vases were placed in the center of the room, where the light was just right, and they reflected a brilliant array of colors, captivating anyone who saw them.

The townspeople murmured among themselves, trying to decipher the meaning of the story. Some shrugged and walked away, thinking it was merely about glassblowing. Others debated the symbolism but grew frustrated, unable to agree on an interpretation. A handful, however, stayed behind and approached the storyteller.

‘What do the vases represent?’ they asked.

The storyteller smiled and said, ‘To those who are open to understanding, the meaning will reveal itself. The vases represent our hearts and minds. The dark corners symbolize those who hide from wisdom, allowing their potential to gather dust. The narrow shelves are those who embrace knowledge briefly but are easily toppled by adversity. The open windows represent those who seek the light but are distracted and dirtied by external influences. But the center of the room – ah, the center – is where the vases reflect their true beauty, symbolizing those who seek balance and clarity, allowing wisdom to shine through them and inspire others.’

The listeners who stayed behind nodded thoughtfully. They saw themselves in the story, recognizing their own tendencies to hide, wobble, or be distracted. They resolved to seek the center, to place themselves where they could reflect the light of wisdom most brilliantly.

And so, the storyteller’s tale became a mirror, revealing to the townspeople the state of their hearts and minds. Those willing to seek understanding found themselves transformed, striving to become like the vases in the center of the room, while others remained unchanged, still puzzled by the simple yet profound story of the glassblower and her creations.

What’s The Purpose Of Ambiguity In Writing?

Ambiguity holds a unique mirror to our hearts and minds, reflecting the inner workings of our thoughts and emotions. When an author deliberately leaves elements of a story open to interpretation, it forces us to engage deeply with the text, projecting our own beliefs, experiences, and feelings onto the narrative. This lack of clear answers becomes a canvas for our inner selves, revealing our desires, fears, and biases. As we grapple with the uncertain and the unresolved, our responses and interpretations expose the true state of our hearts and minds. Ambiguity not only enriches the reading experience but also serves as a powerful tool for self-discovery and introspection.

Examples of how you can incorporate these ideas into your writing:

Create Multi-Layered Characters:

George smiled at the homeless woman, tossing some coins into her cup, his eyes brilliant with compassion. But lurking beneath the charitable facade, vibrations of guilt rose through his gaze, reminding of a hidden past he couldn’t quite shake.

Use Symbolism and Metaphor:

The old willow tree sprawled at the edge of the cemetery, its branches bending but not broken like a whisper of heavenly truth.

Craft Ambiguous Endings:

As the gate swung shut behind him, she stared at the storm clouds streaking the sky. Would he be gone forever, or return to her? Only the pouring rain on the horizon offered any clue.

Employ Unreliable Narrators:

His diary pages were filled with love and devotion, but crumpled up paper spilled from the garbage onto the floor, suggesting unresolved truths lingering in plain sight.

Write Vivid but Vague Descriptions:

The old forest grew over the abandoned cabin, cloaking its crumbling walls in a quilt of mystery. Thick fog hung in the night air, professing mysteries only the branches understood.

Dialogue with Subtext:

I think it’s time for lunch, he said with exuberance. But his boss heard the unspoken words: “I need a break.”

Incorporate Themes of Duality:

Hail as big as golf balls pelted the roof of her broken-down car, but inside, under a pile of blankets with a flashlight and a book, she cozily waiting for the morning sun to rise.

Play with Structure and Form: Example: Using a non-linear narrative:

Emma carried the weight of the world on her shoulders, her past haunting her. She was supposed to be their pride and joy. Rewind to college, and hopes of a future art career, back pack in tow and the way life took a terrible turn.

Engage in Minimalism:

The ice cream dripped onto the boardwalk, painting art across the wooden planks. Sticky and covered in sand, little feet washed clean by the gentle waves – glimpses of redemption.

Prompt Thought-Provoking Questions:

Would they ever escape the plantation, or be slaves forever? And if they escaped, where would they end up – the promised land, or into the hands of a slave master worse than the last?

Foreshadow without Clarity:

A car parked outside her house, but no one ever got out. She couldn’t see through the windshield, but an eerie feeling washed over her. Little did she know, it would be the last day of peace before darkness descended.

Balance Clarity with Mystery:

She answered the phone excitedly, the caller giving her an opportunity she’d waited her whole life for.

Will you give this a try?
If you do, please ping me at the bottom of this page with your URL so I can read it.

Some Biblical ambiguity:
Genesis 1:1-2:4 (Creation Story)
Exodus 3:14 (God’s Name)
Isaiah 7:14 (Prophecy of Immanuel)
Mark 4:10-12 (Parables)
John 3:5 (Being Born Again)
Revelation 6:2 (The White Horse)

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *