Ballpoint and Fifty Pages

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
Nick is at home with Writer's Block. In search of an idea, he heads to the mall. When at the perfect place for a writer, how does he choose a story?

Submitted: September 12, 2016

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Submitted: September 12, 2016



"When in doubt, just head on out."

I had a professor in college say that about writing. Sometimes when we have writers's block, we just need to put down our story and walk away. Regroup and get our bearings back together. All writers have suffered from this horrible ailment at one time or another. They have many ways to try and treat it. I have tried many of them, but none have really worked. Two weeks ago, I had stumbled upon the perfect cure for writer's block.

I started going to the mall here in Ridgeview. Windy Meadows Mall was the only place in town that had a Macy's, food court and a movie theater in the same building. It was a pitiful looking building. Gray and Red Paint covered the building on the outside. Inside it had a bland color combination of Red, Gray and Yellow on the walls. There were many stores that people had choices to shop at. The mall was the closest that Ridgeview would ever get to a Costco. The crowds were ridiculous and the manner in which people behaved in these places were above and beyond inexcusable.

The best place for a writer to find inspiration, was a place like this.

The reason I say this is that, as a writer who's main topic is the behaviors of humans, there is no better place than the mall. When you come to the mall, you run the complete and total gamut of human behavior. From excitement to anger, happiness to sadness, anger to psychotic rage. The perfect place for a writer. 

The perfect place to explore the human condition was the food court of the mall. The food court at the mall was the eqivalant of a fueling station for automobiles. People could fill up on food and relax. Decompress from their shopping experiences, whether good or bad. You could see them up close. It was quite the sight. As a writer I waited for moments like these. The food court of the Windy Meadows was where I got a lot of ideas for all of my work. I was hoping to strike gold today.

I walked over to the ice cream counter and ordered a milkshake. As I waited in line, I overheard a couple start to argue over their experiences in Macy's. He had bought a pair of pants that she did not like. They had argued over the idea that he would look like a fool infront of her parents at dinner this evening. I had wanted to walk over and tell her that since he was a man, that had automatically made him foolish no matter what. But in the spirit of brotherhood, I chose not too.

Finding a seat in the middle of the food court, I pulled out my notebook and started to make notes. I started to make a story of a day in a store, buying a pair of pants. I had about a half of page done when I saw a little girl standing infront of me. She was a little red haired girl holding a Mickey Mouse doll and looking for her mom. She was getting worried and you could see the tears building in her eyes. Her mom snuck around her and picked her up and the little girl started to laugh and be happy again. Seeing this was one of the most suspenseful things I had really seen in a long time. I loved the happy ending. 

So I started to write a story about a little child waiting for it's mother. It was very basic, very human. We all want our mothers. From very young to very old. I started writing it and had developed a good flow. I had excellent control of the pace of the story. When a writer was in the zone, it was hard to stop him. It had to be an act of God before a writer would put the pen and paper down. 

I was going strong, when I had someone come up to the table and ask me to autograph a couple of their books. Instead of yelling at him, I graciously signed the books and posed for a couple of photographs. After this mandatory performance, I went back to work on my story. I looked at what I wrote and realized that in one moment, I lost my flow. I read over what I had wrote, trying to get control back. It wasn't working. So I turned to the next blank page and waited for inspiration to strike. Writers are by nature, very impaitent. When they have a blank page, they have this notion that the idea will come to them immediately. But more often then not, it doesn't come to them in the manner they wanted. 

Leaving my table and my milkshake behind, I decided to walk around the mall and see what I could find for inspiration. Making my way around the stores, I saw Ridgeview as a whole. Suburbia up close and personal. The 21st Century's attempt to maintain certain normalicies of the previous century. It was disheartening and yet mildly intriguing.

I made it to an athletic store. Selling everything and anything to the athlete in all of us. Making it into the store, I was greeted by a young man in his early 20's who motioned for me to check out all of the Basketball gear on sale. I had played Basketball as a young man, but I stopped once I became an adult. I walked over to a Basketball and started to dribble it. Playing with this Basketball, I felt as though I was a 12 year old boy again. The joy at dribbling, imagining playing all of those games back in school. I couldn't help but smile as widely as possible. 

I walked over to the counter with the Basketball and paid for it. As soon as I was done with the store, I walked over to the food court and pulled out my notebook and started to write a story. One of a young boy who discovered the joy of one of the oldest games in the world. One who found confidence, one who found skills that lead him to suceed in life. 

I liked this story. I found the inspiration and the story to go with it. 

© Copyright 2018 Robert Logan. All rights reserved.

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