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Fire

Fire

Although the book is called “Spark,” what we’re after is fire.

The spark is the beginning, the starting point, what gets it all going. We usually need it in order to start at all.

In fact, can a fire be started without a spark? Uh, I’m no fire specialist, but I’m pretty sure we need some kind of ignition or strike to set the flammable bit ablaze.

As I write this, there are huge wildfires burning in California and friends of mine have had to evacuate their homes. Please take my analogy of “fire” only so far as to allow me to elaborate on my point of starting something big with a spark such as a creative project and not a wildfire.

I realize I’m delving into dangerous waters here with fire, but I can’t think of a more appropriate and clear, efficient and effective metaphor for getting a project off the ground.

Now that I have hopefully covered myself enough and apologized for using a word like fire when there are wildfires burning, I’m going to continue.

I suppose if my book were called “Seed” then we could use the metaphor of a giant Redwood tree or even a flower and could talk about the little seed could become many differnt things based on which seed it was. But still, it would work as it’s a tiny little thing creating a huge thing. But hey, I’m not changing my book title and I like Spark and I even like the fire analogy. Enough!

Even through my backpedaling and excuses here, I know you have the idea:

A tiny, quick, seemingly harmless little thing creates a potentially huge, possibly even uncotrollable other thing.

In fact, we could say that a fire doesn’t even “resemble” a spark. A spark is what? A slight flash, a tiny little bit of light. I think of the flint rock, the scraping and quick action that brings that friction to create, well, energy, in the form of fire.

Where I’m most interested in the metaphor is that from that tiny little spark, that beginning, can come something so huge, so overwhelming even, something unexpected and maybe even out of control.

But none of it is going to start without that little flicker, that action to get it all going.

Spark: How to write a book with your kids and why you should

Spark: How to write a book with your kids and why you should

That’s where the spark comes in.

Although I like the seed metaphor and especially how you might, for example, see two seeds side by side and one turns into a houseplant and the other becomes part of the forest in the Amazon, we can still predict what that seed will become.

With the spark and fire, we don’t know if it will never really catch, if it might fizzle out after a strong start, maybe it gets doused by a bucket of water, it turns into a roaring fire in a controlled fireplace or grander and out of our comfort zone, a full-fledged forest fire.

What will become of what you begin with your child? Maybe nothing. Maybe it can’t get started. Maybe it smolders out after a week–even a day. Maybe it roars for a month. But maybe, just maybe, it simmers for a year and then explodes.

See why the spark and the fire are more exciting as a metaphor?

I like it and I’m sticking with it.

Although the book is called "Spark," what we're after is fire.

Although the book is called “Spark,” what we’re after is fire. [Photo by Ricardo Gomez Angel on Unsplash]

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