An active imagination

The guy sitting by himself near the Gate C sign in an empty waiting area of the airport was running from the FBI. He kept his head down and was careful every few minutes to look from one side of the airport to the other. He was looking for anything out of the ordinary and was ready to run at a moment’s notice.

The woman behind the counter of the small store selling water and sodas, snacks and something to read on the plane was waiting for the day when she could walk into work, give her notice, and fly away on the next flight out to Florida to start a new life. She had been dreaming of that day for the past seven years. She planned to make her move in three more months. By then, she would have enough money saved up for a fresh, new start.

Image by Ann H via Pexels

Finally, the little boy wide-eyed and holding his grandfather’s hand, looking out at the plane unloading passengers, will one day grow up to start his own healthcare company that will find a cure for a rare form of pediatric cancer that kept his older sister home on this trip and will one day kill her. 

The latest Steven Spielberg movie? Nah. The hot new streaming series on Netflix? No way. I sat in the Philadelphia Airport, waiting for my flight recently, and watched these passersby. I could see these multi-layered stories play out in my mind as clearly as watching a movie in a theater or on my TV.

I’ve long believed that one of the great things about being a writer is having an active imagination and, oh yes, I have one. Put me in an airport, train station, library, bookstore or even my local coffee shop and I can give you the low down on everyone who walks into the place. 

Image by Tima Miroshnichenko via Pexels

The funny thing is that it all comes in public places. When I sit at my desk at home, it’s not so fun there. I can’t come up with anything.  When I’m out though, I take everything in and give you a story on the spot. I make no claims to accuracy. I may not be right, I may not be anywhere close to the truth, but it’s entertaining nonetheless.

A limp. Of course, the guy got it running after his St. Bernard that took off running after the Saturday afternoon ice cream truck. A woman wearing dark sunglasses. Yes, a possible model, but also a spy with state-of-the-art IT glasses that tells the wearer everything about the person viewed through the lenses. The old man sitting across me, holding tight to a mall box. He left his elderly care facility to find his long lost love that he hasn’t seen in 30 years. He plans to propose to her.

Steven Spielberg has nothing on me.

55 thoughts on “An active imagination

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  1. Oh my goodness, I love this. It’s intriguing to think of the way different destinies are aligning and intersecting, all in one ‘moment’ in time. Fascinating stuff, Brian!

    On a somewhat related note, I’ve been perusing pictures on Pexels lately, thinking how it would be fun to select a photo and tell a story about it. Sort of the same idea, but doing it virtually – people watching a la photograph – and using that as a creative prompt. I wonder if there are WP challenges similar to that…🤔 If not, I still like the idea of using pictures as an imaginative nudge.

    In any case, this was a delightful post! It was a wonderful read, AND it set my brain to whirring. Maybe I’ll pull those pictures out and see what “develops.” 📷😀

    Liked by 2 people

      1. I’m glad to know I haven’t totally lost it – trying to find inspiration in photos. 😆 Plus, I love hearing what tricks experienced writers use, so thank you for sharing that you do the same sometimes!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Those are actually wonderfully fun activities. Back when we would go to a local fun park I would sit and do this because I don’t ride most of the rides. My now late husband, could never understand what I got out of people watching, but like you, creating the store behind the person is not only fun, but a good exercise for the brain.

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  3. You have a great imagination Brian! I watched almost every person sit with their heads buried in phones at my own Gate C and just shook my head considering how their priorities seemed to be missing out on life in general…I suppose I had the makings of some sort of sci-fi/fantasy novel in front of me!

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  4. That’s an interesting story you tell, Brian. I think many people are influenced by things they see and ideas start forming in their brains. For me it’s very rare for that to happen. My thoughts come to me in the quiet times when I am not distracted by people or background noises. Many of my stories come to me in the very early hours of the morning and what’s unusual (or so I’ve been told) is I don’t have just ideas or snippets of stories – I have entire stories in my head – a beginning, a middle and an end – and once I start typing on my laptop, it’s like a stream of consciousness forming on the page. I’ve always had an active imagination; it seems the older I get the more vivid my imagination becomes! 💫

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    1. Thanks so much for sharing. A fascinating topic. Yes, I have to be able to zone out the noises around me. If not, the creativity doesn’t work. I’m similar too in that I see snippets, I see the beginning and middle, the part I usually have to fill in is the end. I’m one who believes we all have ability, it’s just how much nurture or feed it. The more we give ourselves the permission, the more creative we can become. Thanks so much for the feedback!

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  5. Love this, Brian! It reminds me of a terrible, awful outdoor concert that I had to attend because it was an employee ‘morale boosting’ outing. Yuck! I hated the music, the venue, the food but had to slap on a happy face and the only way I survived was skulking around with a colleague, making up stories about couples, families, the people we observed — tall tales that amused the heck out of us and we’re still talking about our over-active imaginations years later. It was fun! So was your post! 🤣😅😅

    Liked by 3 people

      1. We were very, very, naughty — my friend Sharon was a prankster at heart and I didn’t need much encouragement. Darn it, Brian – you’re giving me all sorts of ideas for a future blog post…but I’d better change names to protect the guilty! LOL! 🤣

        Liked by 2 people

  6. Oh my goodness Brian, I love this: “Put me in an airport, train station, library, bookstore or even my local coffee shop and I can give you the low down on everyone who walks into the place.” You are so spot on with allowing your imagination to run wild! But, that’s what writers do! Love this! 🏃🏼‍♂️🏃🏼‍♂️🏃🏼‍♂️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re too hard on yourself. Coming up with the names takes a ton of work. You gotta see the person through the name. I’m biased but I think we all have an imagination, we just have to tune into the lil kid that’s still in our heads and give him or her the freedom to run and play. Thanks so much for reading and the feedback. It means a lot, more than you know. Have a great weekend.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh my goodness, LaShelle, it sounds like you’ve had a busy couple of month. You most definitely deserved a break from blogging. I’ve read your piece on your grandmother and faith twice today and have been thinking about what I wanted to write. It’s a beautiful piece, so well written, and full of emotion. I love the feeling in your writing. I feel like I’m there with you. Thanks for the feedback, it really means a lot. Sending prayers and positive thoughts to your family and friends!

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      1. Wow you read it twice?! I really appreciate the compliment! Thanks so much for telling me that it’s stuck with you all day and it means a lot to me that you not only enjoy the way I write but are able to picture yourself there with me in the moment. I love the way you write too and getting a compliment from you truly makes my week. Thanks for the love and support my friend

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Oh, I love this post, Brian. It’s just brilliant. I love people-watching, too. You see some fascinating sights and overhear (subtly) some interesting conversations. I do make up stories in my head about whoever I’m watching or listening to if I’m in a café or shop. However, I’ve always said I don’t have an imagination, which is why I write nearly all factual accounts. (Having said that, I’m working on another flash fiction for tomorrow). But you have a wonderful imagination. It must be lovely to write scenarios that pop up in your head purely from observation. I had a writing tutor some years ago who always said to carry a notebook or notes on a phone app wherever I go as it will help when stuck on what to write about. I’d like to have half of your imagination, Brian. Wonderful.

    (I’m sorry I’ve fallen behind in reading your posts. I think I’ve lost track of one on the Heart of the Matter and have a couple more to catch up on, too. I will try and catch up this afternoon as I have some free time.)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow, another flash fiction piece, I’ll have to check it out Ellie. Yes, I have a great imagination, but it doesn’t always mean much writing. My sweet spot seems to be blogging about life. I’m much slower at fiction writing. I’m not sure why that is. Thanks for the compliments, really appreciate them. As far as keeping up on my posts, oh my goodness, you don’t have to apologize about anything. You have a life. Read what touches you. Lately, I’ve been blogging somewhat regularly. I don’t expect that one person will read it all. I’m certainly not the quickest in responding to comments. I try to respond to every one I get, but my life takes me away from the blog too. Thank you!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t have any great ideas. There may be others who have better ideas. The best advice I can give is that I constantly think about things going on in my life and how they might appeal or be related to what others are facing. We’re all different, but the same. And I try to use those things to write and share with others and talk about universal truths. Hope that helps. Good luck.

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