Diana Renn: I always find airports to be intriguing places. Walk through the doors and you're instantly enveloped in mysteries. Who are all these people? Where are they going? Why is she hurrying? Why is he dragging his feet? What's in that bag? I'm also fascinated by the behind-the-scenes world of airports: the doors we never see behind, the corridors we don't enter. Boston's Logan Airport was in the news for a mystery a few weeks ago when a noxious odor made workers in a baggage room sick; four workers were hospitalized for evaluation. Bomb-sniffing dogs, et. al. were called in. The source of the odor was mice repellent. A couple had placed camphor in their suitcases. "To ward off mice." The repellent was disposed of, the room aired out, and the couple got to continue on their overseas trip. A happy ending, I suppose, though the mystery writer in me must wonder: okay, who does that? What's the story behind that story?
here, I have to say, I am not totally convinced they are so easily explained away!
Kristen Kittscher: I pass by a number of intriguing houses each day on my neighborhood
walk with my dog. There’s the adorable bungalow on the corner that’s
been boarded up for years. The two-story Victorian that has just the
faintest touch of Manderley about it. The one with the child's
vegetable garden out front. None, however, seems quite as mysterious
to me as the beautiful Craftsman house with the tire swing, crooked
mailbox, weeds, and an ever-changing assortment of broken toys and
tools scattered around the yard. At times it almost looks like an art
installation. Last week I saw a large butcher knife casually tossed
on the grass next to a dirty blanket. Nearby a Pabst Blue Ribbon can
rested next to a headless Barbie—as if she’d snuck away for a rowdy
night of debauchery but instead met a horrible fate.
Most puzzling is how little changes besides the scattered yard
assortment. The mailbox has been off-kilter at the precise angle for
years. The chair next to the rope swing never moves. Even the weeds
seem to remain precisely the same length. If I hadn’t once seen a
child peering out of a window, I would think that the house was
abandoned—that someone was simply sneaking by to stage different
scenes to baffle passersby.
Maybe they are anyway…
Talia Vance: Nature or nurture? Psychologists have long struggled with the mystery of what shapes a person into the people they become. Are we born hard-wired for certain personality traits? How much impact do our environment, family and life experiences have on how we look at the world and behave. Why are some people motivated by adversity and others crippled by it? Two siblings with the same parents and same upbringing can have vastly different personalities. Yet, some identical twins can be so similar, that their personalities and lives can mirror each other even when they are raised in completely different environments. What really makes us tick?