Today in random cool things I have discovered on the Internet: Here’s the story of a man who spent seven years drawing an incredibly intricate maze by hand. Just for fun.
Almost 30 years ago a Japanese custodian sat in front of a large A1 size sheet of white paper, whipped out a pen and started drawing the beginnings of diabolically complex maze, each twist and turn springing spontaneously from his brain onto the paper without aid of a computer. The hobby would consume him as he drew in his spare time until its completion nearly 7 years later when the final labyrinth was rolled up and almost forgotten.
I find the story charming not just because the hand-drawn maze is beautiful, but because I loved creating mazes as a kid. In fourth and fifth grade, after school I’d ride my bike over to my best friend’s house and we’d create word search puzzles or draw mazes and attempt to stump each other. And, lest you think I was a complete geek, we also built forts down at the creek and had rubber band fights with my friend’s little brother. (Those damn things sting when they hit you in the face, even when you hold the high ground in the rafters in the garage and are firing down at the demon little brother.)
Yes, I’m flashing back to my childhood. I’d forgotten all about the rubber band fights until just now. But since I’ve remembered them, this means you can expect a scene in a future novel featuring ten-year-old girls jumping from rafter to rafter in the attic, squealing and firing rubber projectiles at a cluster of little boys like Katniss Everdeen attacking opponents in the Hunger Games. It also means I’ve just, finally, understood why I got myself and my children trapped in the hedge maze at Hampton Court Palace. All the mazes my friend and I created had an entrance on one side and an exit on the opposite side. In and out. But the Hampton Court maze spirals in from the exterior and ends at the center. Where we stood, stranded, searching for the path out. It took me too long to understand that we needed to retrace our steps.
And what kind of maze is that?
Yes, you may also expect mazes to appear in one of my novels. Whether they’ll feature a hapless Californian trapped with her kids in the middle of a hedge remains to be seen.