posted on September 15, 2015 by Jeanne Devlin

Message in a bottle …

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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.

Message in a BottleBut as mesmerizing as an impossible bottle may be, it pales in comparison to the romance of finding a message in a bottle.

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.

A Bottle in the Gaza SeaIn 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.

A Tale for the Time BeingWhich begs the question:  Have you ever written a love letter and set it afloat in a bottle a la Nicholas Sparks?

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

Jeanne Devlin

Jeanne Devlin

Jeanne Devlin is editor of The RoadRunner Press, an award-winning traditional publishing house based in the American West. An editor of newspapers, magazines, and books for more than thirty years, she has also worked on national marketing and publicity campaigns with such publishers as Simon and Schuster and St. Martin's and for a number of New York Times bestselling authors, including Robyn Carr, Sabrina Jeffries, Debbie Macomber, Linda Lael Miller, and Wendy Corsi Staub. A graduate of the Stanford University Publishing Course, Jeanne is a member of the Children's Book Council, the National Book Critics Circle, and the Oklahoma Center for the Book of the Library of Congress. She also consults with boutique publishers.

5 thoughts on “Message in a bottle …”

  1. I’ve never put a message in a bottle but if I did it would be “love conquers all”!

  2. Avatar jacqui haddock says:

    Save me from myself – float across the ocean and bring peace to world and then float back and bring me peace and love.

    1. Avatar Susan Simpson says:

      Hi Jacqui, your comment was chosen as the blog winner. Please forward your address to susan(at)writerspacemail(dot)com and I will send out your big bag of swag from RWA 2015. Thanks!!

  3. Avatar Tanja Dancy says:

    Woman looking for a man to be a companion, friend, lover, to share mutual trust and devotion, to spend time with having fun, relaxing, to share laughter and tears, good times and bad. If you’re looking for monagamy, family, and everlasting love, come find me.

  4. Avatar gg says:

    I would write one “To Whom It May Concern” and hope it concerns a citizen of Atlantis or some hot Merman…. uh, not Ethel 😉

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