Korifaeus Magazine

••• The Big Brother's, oops, i mean Apple's Gazette ••• A Sophisticated Periodical with Panache and a Sense of Humor

The Philosopher’s Stone

Spinning straw into Gold

by Korifaeus

The more languages, and expressions, one is familiar with, the more confusing or clear sentences become ; the phrase, “writer’s block” for example. Were i to ask a German person to interpret “writer’s block”, i’d most likely be told it’s a note pad, because “Block” is the German word for “note pad”, used for writing. English speaking folks would interpret it as the condition of being unable to think of what to write about.

A “block”, however, can also refer to a solid piece of a material – a block of rock, stone or wood. In ancient days of cuneiform script, writers carved or scratched letters into such blocks of stone, thus a “writer’s block” can also be interpreted as a block of stone, or other material, on which writer’s wrote.
On my “block”, the area in which i live, bounded by four street corners, are a lot of writers. Were a block predominately inhabited by writers, one could easily refer to such a block as a “writer’s block”.

But a block can also mean a “cube”, and in the old days scribes used specific cubes to inspire their imagination. These cubes had symbols, pictures, or doodles on each of the six sides of the cube. When turning the cube the symbol’s look changes and when looking at the corners of such cubes, different pictures evolve. Writers would look at them, using their imagination, seeing anything into them that could possibly be seen, not unlike a doodle – the more imagination someone has, the more one can see in a doodle.

Entire stories would unfold simply by looking at doodles, or symbols – and when placed in different light, shadows evolved as well. Thus doodles, or symbols, took on different shapes once again. These blocks, or “cubes”, were called “philosopher’s stones”, because usually they were made of stone.

Such cubes were still in use in the early 20th century, but when word got out that a “philosopher’s stone” can turn most anything into gold and some people taking it “literally”, as though a stone can turn materials into gold, rather than understanding the “metaphor”= to make out of something ordinary something special, ergo looking at a simple stone with meaningless symbols, pictures, or doodles, out of which the most elaborate stories evolved – not unlike the girl “spinning” straw into gold; the one fooling Rumpelstilzken – is when writers put their philosopher’s stones aside and began watching people who started thinking inside the box. If that box is a “writer’s block”, however, i don’t know; but it sure is inspiring observing the imagination of those thinking inside that box.



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