Board games come in all shapes and sizes. “The Game of Life” takes you on a make believe life journey: job, family, house, accidents, taxes, and even a mid-life crisis. The ultimate goal is to retire to Countryside Acres with loads of money and a light heart.  ‘Chess’ introduces the contrast between light and dark. The careful advance of pawns –each moving in its own unique way- to secure victory.  ‘Monopoly’ is all about amassing money and acquiring assets so as to ruin your fellow players. ‘Blokus’ tests your strategic skills one colored piece at a time.


Then there’s “Clue”. It‘s different. It does not involve money or taking your fellow humans down. It’s about the quiet search for “who did it?” You walk into Tudor Mansion and learn that your host, Mr. John Boddy has been murdered. Your task is to determine who the killer is, where he committed his crime, and with what weapon. And so you move from room to room, collecting clues and making suggestions…


Clue as the game of life. Sooner or later we all find ourselves in the big mansion of our unrealized dreams and silent yearnings. We live our lives avoiding the key questions, reading books in the Library, or whipping up plans in the Kitchen, until we come across the dead body. We have to face the fact: The Old Self has been killed. How? We never left the house. Who did it? With what weapon? Was it Ms. Boredom with her languid sighs? Or General Judgment with his violent strikes to the head? Mrs. Betrayal may have lost it and gone straight for the heart. Professor Loss with his quiet way could be the culprit. He’s patient but deadly. Or was it a conspiracy?


We start looking for clues; we investigate. We were cruising along nicely, going through the expected motions and following the rules. What happened? Why can’t our retirement be peaceful? Why is our king threatened with capture?  The mansion, once filled with life and laughter, becomes an empty shell where our sobs echo and our questions remain unanswered. We miss the Old Self; we want her back.  We look for her in the Study where she left a blank page on a frozen computer screen. We feel her in the Billiard Room where the game was interrupted, and in the Conservatory where the plants look sad and wilted.


That’s when it happens. Whether it’s the luck of the draw or divine intervention is irrelevant. We see it. There’s a door hidden behind the bronze statue of a knight. We get closer and push it open. It’s a secret passage. We walk the long dark corridor, our steps keeping steady with the beating of our hearts. We come out in the Lounge. We know the room well: the green couches haven’t moved and the piano remains silent. But the lights are on and a new piece of music, one we’ve never played before, lies open on the coffee table. We run to the Hall to check the front door locks and notice that the dust on the old photographs is gone. There’s a new frame with a picture of ourselves we do not remember being taken. We hear noise in the Dining Room. We rush inside. A surprising scene welcomes us: new guests have arrived and are enjoying themselves. Mr. Enthusiasm is using the Knife to cut the celebratory cake; Mrs. Acceptance is untying the Rope that held Miss Perseverance captive. And Dr. Patience is moving the Candlestick so as to light Ms. Hope’s beautiful face. We’re shocked. Is this the same house? Where’s the dead body? The murderer? We hear music coming from the Ballroom. There we’re invited to join in a new dance, encouraged to partake in a never ending game in which strategy and chance are replaced by intuition and faith. We walk in and timidly embrace the woman we are becoming. Slowly, we start swaying to the tune of Life, in step with our New Unique Self.


14 thoughts on “CLUE-FULL

  1. Oh boy, I absolutely loved this, Maryse. What a marvelous way to explore the transition process. You’ve perfectly captured the surreal quality of that inner world, and then, coming out into the lighted room. The Clue metaphor resonates, and I also like it because I’ve been playing it of late with friends and relatives. Kind of revisiting it from childhood. Thanks for this!

  2. Hi Maryse! Oh WOW – this was fabulous! I love the game clue and each time I play it now, I will think of you!

    If I think of myself in that mansion, I’ve come upon many dead bodies over the years – yikes! I feel most comfortable these days in the Conservatory – surrounding by living greenery, birds and sunshine. All the dead have been swept away, thankfully, and I am in the brightness of the sun.

  3. Maryse! Well, you have done it again. I’ve read your piece twice… and yearn to read it again. You do this to me every time!

    This is so beautifully written Maryse! You have done a superb job of exploring the panoply of emotions that we all go through in life. You are a very creative writer and a very wise soul my dear! Thank you for sharing your talent with the world.

  4. Absolutely brilliant post! Glad to meet you new friend.

    “…encouraged to partake in a never ending game in which strategy and chance are replaced by intuition and faith. We walk in and timidly embrace the woman we are becoming. Slowly, we start swaying to the tune of Life, in step with our New Unique Self.”

    I have a book, “If Life is a Game, These are the Rules.” I think your short essay just trumped that entire book because of the inherent revelation caused by reading it.

  5. Maryse,

    What an inspiring post! I love how you used a game that is universal and timeless…(it was my favorite board game as a child-I love mysteries) to explore a universal and timelss subject…facing our shadow and embracing our truth. A LOVELY exploration of a transition that often we make more than once in a lifetime.

    Lots of love, Cathy

  6. territiffany

    Oh wow again! I love this analagy and have never looked at life that way–it is like a game.Great job with some thoughts I will remember.

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