Ever since I was a child, I’ve been fascinated by the mechanical puzzle known as an “impossible bottle.” Think any glass bottle containing an object that does not appear to fit through the bottle’s mouth: a ship in a bottle is a classic example, but impossible bottles can also hold tennis balls, pennies, or pine cones.
So when the world’s oldest message in a bottle washed up in Germany on the beach of Amrum Island in the North Sea after 108 years of bobbing in the ocean this past April, it got me thinking. Could there be anything more romantic than finding a love note in a bottle that somehow seemed written just for you?
Nicholas Sparks explored that idea in his 1998 novel, Message in a Bottle, when Theresa Osborne finds a bottle on the beach in the course of a morning jog. The love letter inside speaks to Theresa as few things in her life have, and soon she is in search of the man who wrote it, the man she believes is her soul mate.
In Italian author Valerie Zenatti’s 2008 novel, A Bottle in the Gaza Sea, a message in a bottle is at the heart of a modern-day Romeo and Juliet tale, after an Israeli teenager throws a letter in a bottle into the Gaza Sea in hopes of connecting with a Palestinian living on the other side.
In a more recent twist, author Ruth Ozeki explored in her 2013 novel A Tale for the Time Being, the idea of a beguiling find that arrives on the waves in a Hello Kitty lunchbox after the devastating 2011 tsunami.
If so, what message did you send out to the universe?
And if not, what message would you write if it could bring the love of your life washing up on shore?
SPLASH! (Is that a bottle I hear being dropped into the ocean?)
One person who comments will win a bag of swag from RWA 2015.
— Jeanne Devlin