Creative Writing, Venue

The Struggle between Imagination and Reality

Writing may well be the most frustrating thing anyone can do. What is more intimidating than a blank page that screams: YOU CANNOT THINK OF ANYTHING, or, more commonly: JUST GIVE UP? So, as writers, what do we do? Strive through that initial blockage and scan your brain for any form of creativity. Go somewhere else other than your desk to revitalise that spark of imagination. Or, like a Shaolin monk, dive into a deep form of meditation.

I’m at this second stage today. Choosing to go to a local café, to see if I can resurrect my poetry, or prose, or whatever you could call it. With my laptop resting on this wooden table, we type in the comfort of a cosy space. The steam from my coffee swirls around, captivating thought and attention as it floats into nothingness…

Bones scattered like keys on a table that had been chucked

Without a thought, care,

Only for the convenience of the board pieces

They were wielding their weapons.

There’s this man coughing at the sofa table by the window. As well as stealing my space, he’s with his work colleagues that have booming and cackling, witch-like laughs. They are in their own little bubble; oblivious to the student, unaware of the old man reading his paper, and unconscious of the lady reading. It reminds me of those adverts, where you see a really uncomfortable video of these business people laughing hysterically, almost as though the true individuals, behind their business façades, were yelling: GET ME OUT OF HERE. Similar to being at a family gathering and the racist uncle has had one too many drinks…

The arena was a lava landscape

The pieces standing on their rocks with the bubble of molten lava around them:

Queen/Kings equipped with Browning machine guns

Bishops equipped with AK’s

Knights equipped with Samurai swords (ability to deflect bullets)

Rooks equipped with Baseball bat

Pawns equipped with a butter knife

A loud crash disturbs my writing as the waiter drops a fork. Great. I’ve lost my writing rhythm. There’s a bookshelf next to the toilets with a sign reading: ‘feel free to swap/borrow or just take!’ Most of the books seem like your average collection of crime, romance and the odd gardening book, but there’s one that catches my eye: ‘The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers’. I’m not sure who it’s by, but it looks interesting to say the least. Obviously, I don’t have the courage to actually go up there and take it, but it’s still nice to admire from a few feet away…

Ha! Slash, Ka-pow, pewwww

The volcano towering over the arena coughed

Spluttered interrupting the duel between the remaining pieces

‘Don’t mean to interrupt you guys, but I think I’m gonna be sick’

Both sets of knights protecting their monarchs looked at each other

With sweat dripping in their eyes and knuckles white on their grips.

[Like one of those scenes in Star Wars when they have a stand off and there’s that awkward moment when they think: ‘Shit, this is real’]

‘Yep, I’m gonna be sick’

Red and Black capes covered the black pieces and they vanished

Leaving the white pieces confused for a second too long as the volcano

Spewed lava onto the wooden board pieces that disintegrated almost instantaneously.


About Author


Thomas Manning

February 2021
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