Why do writers need imagination?

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Booksie Classic
Whenever I sit down and pick up a pencil and notepad, I find it both a beautiful mystery and a tragedy that there are so many stories remaining undiscovered...

Submitted: January 30, 2019

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Submitted: January 30, 2019

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Whenever I sit down and pick up a pencil and notepad, I find it both a beautiful mystery and a tragedy that there are so many stories remaining undiscovered. Much more than the stories I'll ever get to know.

Sometimes, when I take the shuttle bus, I think about how every single passenger that's paid for the same ticket, at a matching time and place, has their own unique story to tell. Whenever you take the elevator in a tall building, whether it’s a class, seminar, meeting, etc - the people taking the same elevator all have their stories. While waiting for your order in a shop, the combination of all the people waiting in the same line all have their stories, at least a couple dozens each; even the cashiers, shop managers, by-walkers and drivers waiting at the parking lot. Can you imagine? That’s hundreds of thousands of stories all around you, within a radius of no more than five hundred miles at once! What about your neighborhood? What about your city? The world? How many missed opportunities on a new brave idea is that!

We, walking story chambers, pass each other by daily, with no chance to find out the plots and twists of these heroes and heroines. The best you’ll get is: a stranger will sit down next to you, lecturing you about your moon in Virgo, ascendant in Scorpio and how the shape of your hands could give you an overview of your calendar year; you’ll display an uncomfortable smile, implicitly brushing it all off with skepticism. Or sometimes, a rare, genuine conversation would spark up. From starting with a simple discussion of your favorite barista and your pet’s funniest habits to getting raw and unfiltered about recent losses, long-time insecurities and bravest resolutions - all the things you normally don’t share. That’s why they’ve been trapped inside of you, waiting so long for a vocal release. However, once in a lifetime happens a mutual experience on a rare scale of understanding and connection; your fears and demons, the little things that light a fire flame inside your heart, feel at peace with being revealed. You’ll get off the bus stop and the next half an hour walk to wherever you’re heading will feel like you’re flying; the next week, you’ll recall the most touching bits and pieces of a conversation that’ll stay for you as long as you live.


But most likely, to get the closest you can into these secret chambers - where ideas would fly from, as if out of the woodwork - you’ll walk into a quiet place. There, you’d observe the surroundings, attentive to details. A man, his estimated age being of early eighties, sits alone with a serious glare in his blue eyes, and a rich pale beard; right above him, hangs a portrait of Lev Tolstoy, whom he so precisely resembles. Aside him, there's a dark-haired woman in a blue winter coat, neatly framed with a black leather belt around her waist. Spine straight, as if instructing a yoga class, she's reading Wilde's “The Picture of Dorian Grey”, holding the hard cover with thin, pale, aristocratic hands. What does she make of the story? What are the pages that made her cry, laugh, dive off into a daydream, grasp her favorite phrases out of context? How could her reactions describe her character, her personal victories and weaknesses?

Another woman of forty-five, with her amber hair tied up in a bun, is typing something on her Sony laptop, when her phone lights up. She overlooks it from four to five seconds before she raises up, packs her belongings in a pace as if she had just overdone army training, and storms out. She notices the first yellow taxi and waves hysterically at the driver, throws herself onto the front seat and slams the car door shut, as the vehicle takes off... What is her story? I wish I knew.


It fascinates and drowns me at the same time - the tragedy of how little we do actually know.
That’s why we, writers, need imagination.
That’s why we, those who imagine, need to write.



© Copyright 2019 Alexandra Layne. All rights reserved.

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