(What If? Exercise: Read the description here.)

I sat at my desk, typing away at my computer, trying to break through my writer’s block as I wrote about anything and everything that came to mind, hoping some random idea would blossom into a story, when I happened to glance over at a pile of books sitting nearby, on top of which sat a book from my childhood, The Cat in the Hat, a book I had recently found sitting quietly on one of the room’s many shelves, a book I had loved as a little girl, and suddenly I found myself thinking back on the simpler days of my life, when six-foot cats wearing tall striped hats and pet fish who could talk made perfect sense to me, when stories about boys who had crazy adventures in magical chocolate factories and young children learning the craft of magic were much more appealing to me than the average everyday life, a normal life where I was just a shy girl trying to hide from the scary kids at school by making herself as inconspicuous as possible, while still longing for a day when she would be recognized as a great storyteller with a gift for touching people’s lives with her unique voice in writing, a day when people everywhere would know her name and celebrate her beautiful stories about fantastic adventures and worlds where anything was possible, worlds that existed only in her mind but that could hopefully live on in the imaginations of many young readers, perhaps some of whom would choose to pursue their own talents in the arts and continue to color the world with their own voices, making the world a much brighter place… and then I looked back at my computer screen and smiled, realizing that I didn’t need to worry so much about finding a perfect idea to shape into a perfect piece, that ideas were anywhere and everywhere, and as long as I had my own storytelling voice, I didn’t need to produce a great novel to be heard, for I could just as easily write a simple short piece about an ambitious writer’s long train of thought and her hopeful journeys breaking blocks.


Yes, I realize this piece is only one sentence long, and I can assure you that it’s completely intentional. This story is based on What If? Exercise 90: “The Journey of the Long Sentence”. The goal is to write a short short story that, as mentioned above, is a single sentence in length. The objective of this exercise is to understand how we can shape our writing in a similar manner that our minds function, building a linear order for an observation that often consists of many overlapping aspects.

The story I ended up creating was almost completely improvised; I started with a single idea and just ran with it, typing without pausing while I let my mind continuously fill in the lines of the story. Though I know the end result isn’t perfect, I can honestly say it was a lot of fun to write, and I encourage you to try it yourself. Who knows what brilliant stories might be lurking in the back of your mind?

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