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  • Writer's pictureWILLIAM A SLOAN


An overused metaphor, I know.

But I was talking to one of my nearest and dearest last week and he happened to mention that he’s been putting together jigsaw puzzles during our time in Coronaville and he’s been enjoying them and they’re calming and engaging and productive and goal-oriented and all good things and he does them because, somehow, he manages to make all the pieces fit together eventually and make a beautiful whole. And I thought, isn’t that the wonderful thing about jigsaw puzzles? It didn’t exist and now it does and it makes a beautiful whole.

You know how, when you’re working on a jigsaw puzzle, there’s always a special piece that doesn’t quite fit anywhere? And you think this piece is strangely different and stands out in too many ways. Well, that puzzle piece is me for the first 19 years of my life – show of hands if you can relate. A little too different, a little too out there, a little too...too. You try, but you just don’t fit. And I’ve been thinking about that this year because, what with the isolation of Coronaville, a lot of younger unique pieces haven’t had the opportunities to try to find their place. Quarantine, table for one please.

It takes practice and stamina and openness and a chameleon-like capability and the willingness to be challenged or questioned or, much more frightening, hurt. It’s tiring. It’s work. But I can tell you, after all of these years, and all of those repercussions, I’ve become the piece that fits in every puzzle and if I don’t...well, there’s something wrong with that puzzle.

My hope for the younger unique pieces, as we move through the next phase of Coronaville, is that they all come to realize that they are the Statue of Liberty’s torch or Marilyn Monroe’s beauty mark or the sun over the Grand Canyon – they are the piece that gives the puzzle life. After all, as with most rewarding puzzles, the best piece is the one that pulls it all together at the end, with a little pizzazz, a little “A-Ha” moment, and the ultimate realization that, eventually, we all fit together...and make a beautiful whole.

Who in the world am I? Ah, that’s the great puzzle.

– Lewis Carroll

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