A young girl spoke to me after a recent panel about her writers’ block. It’s a common ailment for writers. One of the antidotes is stepping away from the thing you’re stuck on and challenging yourself to write something else, maybe by responding to a writing prompt. Treat it like an assignment that you have to finish, though no grade hangs on it. One of the prompt series I respond to semi-regularly is Random_Michelle’s picture post. They’re short, so it makes for a few minutes of focused writing and I don’t worry about the story being anything in particular, my only goal is to hit the word count; writing, not perfection, is the point – in fact, editing for length is about the only editing I do once I’m done, and it’s good practice because it helps me cut through the extra exposition to the core of the story. The Wadadli Pen Challenge annually asks participants to tell their stories in 600 words or less, and some balk at the brevity, but try 300 words… no, seriously, try it.
Here’s my response to the latest Random_Michelle picture prompt. See what you come up with. Soon you’ll be wondering, block, what block? Share your prompt response in the comments; I’d love to read them.
Once a Pjablima sees Its Chosen, It puts the Other in a thrall and takes; life before of no consequence.
Doe is a new age Pjablima; wants to give the Chosen… choice. Members of the Pjablimaba mock It for such nonsense, but in the place where Its heart would be if Pjablimas were human, Doe knows this is the only way to be sure. it doesn’t matter that the stolen human would not know the difference and that in time other humans would also forget. Doe would know.
it was Doe’s ma-Pja’s doing. Though sure she doesn’t regret being Chosen, Doe knows from the fragments of half-remembered stories she told when It was a wee-Pja and they went leaf picking that she hasn’t fully forgotten her former life.
“it have a leaf the humans does smoke too,” she would say, sniffing deep of the Jarah leaf. “They call it ganja. Some of them that smoke it wear their hara like us.” And young Doe would touch the scruff that grew from Its scalp and would in time snake down Its back. A Pjablima’s hara is sensitive, reflecting every emotion.
Doe’s stands on end the day It sees her through the veil between Pjablima and human realms. She doesn’t see Doe. Humans’ ego prevent them seeing the many realms.
Doe doesn’t reach through and grab her. It steps through and, mimicking the humans, courts her, dances with her, makes her smile, loves her; then reveals Its true nature to her, giving her… choice.
And when she crosses herself and backs away, terrified, Doe …takes her anyway; carries her in to Pjablima realm like a human bride.
Doe isn’t proud of it. But It is Pjablima. it is their way. A Pjablima cannot live without Its Chosen. In time, she would forget.