I puzzled my family tonight.  We bought my son another jigsaw puzzle, and I realized that it has the same puzzle pattern as another puzzle my son has already mastered.  One puzzle features "Finding Nemo," and the other one is a "Winnie the Pooh" puzzle.  They’re both made by the same manufacturer, so that’s why they both have the same puzzle patterns.  After dinner, I psyched both my wife and son out by melding the two puzzles together this evening.  I combined some of the pieces from one jigsaw puzzle with the other, making two different, somewhat surreal puzzles.  At first both my wife and son protested.  "Don’t do that!  That’s too weird," they said.  "Why not?  It’s a challenge!"  I answered.  My son wanted to tear up the puzzles and put them together the "right" way, but I insisted.  Finally, both of them caved in and helped finish them.  They cheered after both puzzles were finished, because they finally saw the value of putting together the puzzles in a new, vividly different way.
It was actually really difficult to do this.  Combining parts of two different jigsaw puzzles together into two new hybrid puzzles is actually quite challenging.  I don’t expect my son to do it anytime soon.  It forces you to consider the shape and pattern of both puzzles, seeing both simultaneously and figuring out which pieces fit best in shape and artistic value.  The end result is something both strange and intriguing.  The surrealist masters of the canvas, Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali, and M.C. Escher, among others, realized beauty through abstraction and projected amazing imagery through their art.  I especially value illusions and abstractions because they help me realize that virtually anything can be viewed from more than one perspective.  In the photos section, I posted some of my favorite illusions.  What do you see when you look at them?
The jigsaw puzzle incident remains me of something that has really frustrated me for the past few months.  I am facing some serious conflicts with someone who is very different from me.  While I value their perspective, I am growing frustrated by their persistent opposition to my suggestions.  It seems that everytime I suggest something, I can always count on them to provide a countervailing opinion.  I’m sure you probably know someone just like that, someone who seems to think exactly the opposite of the way you do.  I appreciate their input–I really do, because they usually come up with talking points I have not thought about.  However, I am really growing weary of their inflexiblity.  They tend to refuse to see other points of view or show flexibility on their own positions.  Just like my family could not initially see the value in mixing jigsaw puzzle pieces, this person typically imposes their opinion and spends their time trying to persuade me to see their point of view, instead of exploring the value of another perspective.  I tend to move towards agreeing with their opinion because I believe it’s important to be flexible and come to consensus when consensus is possible.  However, at some point my flexibility will end when I become too frustrated, and I too will be recalcitrant.  When that happens, no one will win.


Books by MG EdwardsMG Edwards is a writer of books and stories in the thriller and science fiction-fantasy genres. He also writes travel adventures and children’s books. A former U.S. diplomat, he served in South Korea, Paraguay, and Zambia before leaving the Foreign Service to write full time.

Edwards is author of six books. His memoir, Kilimanjaro: One Man’s Quest to Go Over the Hill, was finalist for the Book of the Year Award and the Global eBook Award. He has published four children’s picture books in the World Adventurers for Kids Series: Alexander the Salamander; Ellie the Elephant; Zoe the Zebra; and a collection featuring all three stories. His book Real Dreams: Thirty Years of Short Stories is an anthology of 15 short stories.

Edwards lives in Taipei, Taiwan with his family. He has also lived in Austria, Singapore and Thailand. For more books or stories by M.G. Edwards, visit his web site at www.mgedwards.com or contact him by e-mail at me@mgedwards.com or on Twitter @m_g_edwards.

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