Psst. Hey You. Yeah You. Don't Give Up.

Monday, December 14, 2020

Walk with me for a moment. We're inside the dimly lit streets of my imagination. We're walking down a desolate street, next to buildings that look like they haven't been habited in years. It's night time, and all we can hear are distant traffic noises, a dog barking, and a couple having a fight in a nearby apartment. 

An alleyway is coming up, where the darkness doesn't seem to have a beginning or end. You look at me a little nervous, but I reassure you, it's fine. 

We can hear movement like someone is there. We're both aware that because this is my imagination that anything can happen. Dragons could be lurking. Maybe something worse. Or maybe something better. You just never know.

"Psst," a voice says.

We pause. You look at me, and I look at you. We keep walking. Maybe it was nothing.

"Hey, you."

This time we turn and face the voice. A cloaked figure steps out from underneath the street lamps. Their face is obscured by the hat covering half their face, and a coat collar is popped up to cover the rest.

"Yeah, you." The figure shuffles forward. We step backward, uncertain if we should start running. 

"Don't give up."

"What?" I finally ask, finding my voice.

"Yeah, you heard me. Don't give up." Suddenly, the figure takes their hands out of their pocket and flips a coin that bounces towards us. Then, they step back into the shadows of an alleyway, swallowed whole by the darkness.

I take a step forward, reluctant that something in the darkened, poorly lit streets of my imagination will lunge at me. A neglected imagination can be a dangerous thing, I think to myself. You stand nearby, holding a weapon of some kind that I never realized you had. 

Picking up the shiny object, I examine it closer. 

"It's a coin?" You ask.

"Yeah," I say, somewhat confused. "But it's something else."

"What is it?" You ask, getting nervous and irritated with me at once. You've always been terrible at waiting.

"It's an idea." 

The moment I say the words out loud, we notice a light in the distance. It's the sun rising. Ever so slowly, the light of the sun casts its warm glow between the buildings. Someone nearby opens up their window, birds start chirping, and a man pushing a cart filled with ice cream pops sets up his stand. People step outside as if they were kept inside too long. 

"Look!" I tell you. "My characters!"

Various people of different shapes, sizes, colors, and backgrounds step forward into the light that has awakened them.

I look at the coin again. It's a familiar one. One I've seen before, but this time I'm seeing it in a new light. In a new way.

We both take a walk down the streets of my imagination. We look at each other, about to say goodbye, and you ask me how you light up yours.

"Don't give up," I tell you.

The End


I hope you stayed with me for the duration of this piece. To be honest, I've been in a funk lately, and enormously unsure how I'll find that creative spark again (hopefully, I've captured that sentiment in this piece). Then recently I got an idea. It was a goofy one, to say the least, and one that will likely not make much sense until I polish it up. But it was an idea. And it was a way of bridging two stories together that never really went anywhere.

And it gave me hope. So, today I want to encourage you to stay with it. Don't give up. Whether it's a short story, novel, or memoir, don't give up. Sometimes all you need is a spark, just like I got, to remind you that your imagination is there, waiting for you to wake it up.

Check out what else Nicole is writing about on her blog World of My Imagination or Lady Unemployed.


Jeanine DeHoney said...

Thanks for the inspiring message in this post Nicole. I hope you continue to have sparks that lead you to write great stories.

Michelle said...

This was great. Inspiring and creative! Thank you.

Sioux Roslawski said...

Nicole--An idea that bridges two different stories? That's fabulous.

I think we've all been in some kind of funk at some point. Writing is so full of rejection. It's difficult to remain inspired and confident. I'm glad to hear that perhaps you've turned a corner?

Renee Roberson said...

This is great, Nicole! I read it, half holding my breath in anticipation. I think so many of us feel this way right now, trying to keep our heads above water and continue supporting ourselves during a time of a pandemic, while also desperately trying to hold on to any creative sparks we have. I know I feel that way. Thanks for the words of encouragement and hope.

Angela Mackintosh said...

Very creative and atmospheric, Nicole! :) I second what Sioux said about an idea that bridges two stories. I LOVE braided stories, and write them often in creative nonfiction. I think you could do the same thing in fiction where you have two storylines alternate every other section, until they meet up in the end. So fun! Run with it. :)

Nicole Pyles said...

@Jeanine - thank you so much Jeanine! I hope so too!

@Michelle - thank you!!

@Sioux - I think so! I just need to make sure I don't turn it into a total u-turn and end up right back where I was.

@Renee - oh thank you so much Renee! I am definitely struggling with keeping my head above water and staying creative. I swear it comes in fits and starts.

@Angela - thank you!! I haven't done it a lot but I realized there were two characters I wrote about that would end up working really well in another storyline, and so I definitely need to see where this goes!

Cathy C. Hall said...

I was kinda hoping for a dragon but ideas are good, too! :-) I'll echo Ang, run with it!

Nicole Pyles said...

Hahaha thanks Cathy!

Samantha said...

When the part said "idea" , it's as if something sparked in my head too. thanks for that:)

Nicole Pyles said...

@Samantha: I'm so happy to hear that!

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