The Rubik’s Cubenundrum

Punk Charming Library 2

Packed along with my Punk Charming books, signing pens and table decor is my Rubik’s Cube. I’ve had it since the early 80s and it’s never been solved. It’s a great conversation piece, as people either love it or hate it. Count me in the latter group. Inevitably, people in the former group stop by and share tips with me. No matter how much I want to listen, I hear only Charlie Brown’s teacher’s voice (wah wah wahwah wah wah corners wah wahwah wah…).

During a book signing in November, I set a personal record – all the blue together on one side. I was so proud…until someone came up and put together four sides in about a minute. That was the end of my cube attempts…until the Author Fair this month. The previous progress had long since been scrambled by other cube-challenged souls, so I tried to replicate my last success by completing one side. It wasn’t going well (see above photo). A very confident cuber stepped up and took over, once again explaining the importance of corners…wah wah wahwah wah. He admitted that back in the day he and some friends took the cube apart to understand the mechanics. He insisted this wasn’t cheating, as they didn’t remove the stickers. My friend scrutinized his ethics. As for me, who am I to judge? My best play was to hurl the cube across the room, hoping the smashed bits might align as they fell (note: those cubes are surprisingly durable).

The curse of the cube spilled over into Punk Charming, as both Kate and James are rescued from their cube conundrums by their siblings:

  • Kate: Then, she rediscovered her Rubik’s cube and twisted it vigorously to try to align the colored sides. Instead, she succeeded only in separating the few matching orange squares she finished the last time. The phone rang, sparing her from any more cube conundrum.
  • James: He rotated a few rows, which resulted in separating the few matching colors that he had managed to secure ages ago. Anne’s sudden appearance on the stairs startled James, causing the cube to fly from his hands.
  • In case you were wondering about other characters – George is certainly methodical enough to solve it, David would find it beneath his brilliance to try, and Tristan thought it made a great chew toy (making Tristan the cleverest of them all).

As I was writing my book, I made an inspiration board in the form of a cube. It contains images that play into the story and is housed in an old-school acrylic photo cube. The only rotation required is to see the different sides – no solution required.

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If you’ve ever picked up this vexing square, you may enjoy watching these videos. The first shows a 14 year old solving the cube in under 5 seconds (seriously!). Should you want to make your own success video, the second purports to demonstrate how to solve the cube (you know what I heard…wah wahwahwah wahwah). If you watch Limitless, you’ll know that a dose of NZT is a much easier (though potentially lethal) way to decipher it.


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