Friday, April 12, 2013

A-Z Blog Challenge: K is for Kaleidoscope by Pamela Turner

It's that time again!!!  Unwritten and some 1000 other blogs participated last year, and this year looks to be even bigger! Just like last year, I've opened up the blog to host 26 fabulous writers, with each day of the challenge representing the letters of the alphabet from A-Z. I've asked each writer to focus on something that is personal to them, so we can learn more about each other. 

Please check out some of the other blogs in the challenge here: 


K is for Kaleidoscope-
Fragments of a Life
by Pamela Turner

One of my favorite toys was my grandmother’s kaleidoscope, a tube of cardboard, wrapped in red, white, and blue paper, and decorated with snowflake patterns. I would lie in bed, turning the kaleidoscope back and forth, watching the plastic fragments shift and fall into new positions. I never knew what shape they would take next, but they reminded me of the stained glass windows in my church, and I thought those small pieces made some of the most beautiful symmetrical patterns I’d ever seen. At that age, I’d no idea how a kaleidoscope worked, but the how didn’t matter, only the results.

If you look at one end of the kaleidoscope, the pieces look jumbled, hardly a beautiful, coherent pattern seen from the other end. And that got me thinking how the kaleidoscope symbolized our lives.

Each fragment is a different aspect of our lives, whether something that’s a part of us, like our personality, or an outside influence, such as a teacher or a friend. The older we get, the more “fragments” are added, influencing the designs that make up the patterns of our life that “color” our world, so to speak.

Not all of these influences are positive, but we’re dealing with something far more complex here than a toy.  The fragments that make up our symbolic kaleidoscope are constantly in flux, creating an ever changing pattern, whereas the toy kaleidoscope has a specific number of designs. Either way, I don’t get to choose what the pattern looks like, but I have some influence on what pieces I allow to be a part of it.

I don’t know if you’ve ever tried to take the back off of a kaleidoscope. Looking at my grandmother’s, it wouldn’t take much to push in the clear plastic circle covering the bottom, and let the fragments fall out. Could I reinsert them? I suppose so, but I could end up ruining the toy as well. (That it’s lasted this long is surprising.)

It’s probably easier to remove and replace pieces in my symbolic kaleidoscope, simply because there’s no concrete design. It’s also more complicated. While outside factors are influencing me, I’m influencing them. Somehow, we’re interconnected. This is even more so with those pieces that are part of our genetic makeup. For example, if there’s a propensity for mental illness, or a predilection for addiction, such as alcoholism, it may be somewhere in our DNA, and that forms a part of the kaleidoscope. While we can manage mental illness and addiction through medicine and therapy, the fact is such psychological traits can have a profound effect, whether concerning us directly, or a friend or family member.

We can choose to create a kaleidoscope that shows our inner beauty, that radiates a positive energy. After all, wouldn’t we like to add more positive pieces to our own?


Pamela Turner drinks too much coffee, and wishes she could write perfect first drafts. She writes dark fiction, including the urban fantasy/paranormal, Death Sword (Lyrical Press), and the short dark suspense tale, “Family Tradition” (MuseItUp Publishing). She’s a member of RWA, Sisters in Crime, EPIC, and a supporting member of HWA. Besides coffee, she likes cats, cemeteries, and old abandoned buildings.  


  1. This conjured memories of a kaleidoscope that I owned as a child. I could actually visualize the beautiful colors and shapes as I read your post.

    Thanks for sharing!

    Shirletta @ Shirleyisnotmyname

    1. Thanks, Shirletta! Glad you enjoyed it. :-) This kaleidoscope is I don't know how old. It's lost some of its brilliance, but I have a nostalgic affection for it.

  2. I love the Kaleidoscope too! Now I wonder where I can get one for my son....

    Jamie Dement (LadyJai)

    1. Hi, Jamie, and thanks for stopping by. :-) Good luck finding a kaleidoscope. I'd like to try to make one. I've no idea where my grandmother bought hers or even how old it is.

  3. Pamela, your post was a very thought-provoking walk down memory lane. I was always fascinated by that toy kaleidoscope too.

    Yes, those pieces could represent phases of our life. I just hope I don't pass down my addiction to online pool. I'd need to take the toy apart and pick out the little white one that might represent a cue ball.

    Thanks for a great read.

    1. Thank you, Leona! So glad you liked the post. :-) Speaking of cue balls, if life were a pool game, I'd probably scratch. But yes, that's another analogy. :-)

  4. What a beautiful piece… Thank you for a wonderful meditation. My daughter loves watching How It's Made, and once we saw how a kaleidoscope is made. The process now has another level of meaning, for sure!

    Have a great weekend!

    1. Hi, Tori, and thank you! So glad you enjoyed the piece. I'm going to have to check out How It's Made and see if I can find that episode.

      Have a great weekend, also!


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