2013 Totem Head Story Contest Finalist.
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Paper's Left Side
Paper's Right Side
2013 Contest Finalist

Writer's Block
Written By:   Angela Wang, 16 years old, New Jersey.

So there I was, fists clenched and brow furrowed, scowling at my evil arch-nemesis, my opponent since the very start who had delighted in outwitting me every time with sneaky ambushes and cackling laughs.

"We meet again, Writer’s Block," I hissed.

Angrily, I scribbled out yet another idea and wadded the paper up, tossing it into a trash can overflowing with other bad ideas. No matter what I tried, nothing seemed to click together in my mind. I had only dry, sawdust ideas that left a sour taste in my mouth. With a frustrated groan, I banged my head against my desk.

"Ugh, why does this have to happen to me?"

I wasn’t expecting an answer, which made it all the worse when this thing came whooshing into my room, picked me up, and dropped me in the middle of nowhere all in the blink of an eye. I barely had any time to react before I was hastily lifted from my comfy chair and tossed into this...this…

"Huh?" I mumbled. Then, "Ow."

Rubbing the sore lump on my head, I curiously looked up at my surroundings. I was trapped within a cube-like structure. Six huge walls closed down on me, with four towering directly over me and two acting as the ceiling and floor. There didn’t seem to be anyone or anything here besides me and my shout of "Hello, is anyone there?" was met only with echoes booming in the emptiness, until an indignant voice squeaked, "What are you doing?!"

I looked around and my jaw dropped. Standing in front of me was a…

A pen--with a grumpy expression on its face and its hands on its hips.

"Um," was my very intelligent response.

"I came to bust you out and all you can do is stand there and say ‘Um’?" With a haughty snort, the pen puffed out its chest. "Haven’t you ever heard of the saying ‘The pen is mightier than a sword?’"

"Yes but what does that have to do with…"

"I’m going to help you escape from here! You’re going to need a lot of might to make it out of the Writer’s Block after all." The pen ignored my shocked protesting and plowed onward. "So, you see, the only key to escape is Imagination. But Imagination’s been captured by Logic."

"Logic?" I asked before the ridiculousness of the situation could sink in. "But Logic’s not a bad guy, right?"

"He shouldn’t be," the pen agreed. "But his boss, Ignorance, forced him to. Ignorance’s a very imposing guy like that."

"This Ignorance fellow doesn’t sound very nice."

"He’s not. But he’s really powerful and wants to rule the entire world. I’m thinking that he’s building up an entire empire using mind-control. He’s got a lot of allies and minions working for him like…"


"Them," the pen answered, pointing a rigid finger. "The Conformities, commanded by Duke Dullness."

Goggling, I watched as what seemed like thousands of pale figures marched forward, stepping perfectly in line with one another. Fear crawled down my spine as I realized the figures had completely blank faces with no features except gaping holes for mouths. From their mouths, they were all spewing out the same ideas with the same flat monotone.

"This idea could never work. You can’t make anything work. Your writing’s so boring."

"Nobody would want to read this garbage. It’s not interesting at all. You should just give up now."

I flinched as their words struck me with harsh blows. The biggest insecurities I had buried deep down in my heart were bubbling up. Even as a writer, doing what I loved the most, these doubts nagged at me, whispering dark thoughts that could yank me into a writer’s slump if I ever listened to them and didn’t believe in my writing. Palms sweating and heart pounding, I swayed.

"Snap out of it!"

I blinked and turned towards the pen. The pen only gave me a thumbs up before it magically turned to the size of a baseball bat.

"WHAT?!" I squawked. "I can’t—"

"Yes, you can."

I whirled around to face another version of me.

A dignified version of me was standing in front of me with resolve gleaming in her eyes. "I’m your Voice. I carry your writing forward so I know for sure of the great things you can do. To think that you can’t do anything would mean giving in the empire of Ignorance. You can make anything possible. Literally!" She gestured to the bright orange toolbox she was holding. "I brought your Literary Devices for you. They’ll guide you in battle, and speed your writing journey. Now, go forth!"

My fear was ebbing away as waves of courage crashed into my heart, flooding warmth and strength into my body. I could do this. I could do anything, thanks to my writing.

"AHHHHHHHHHHHH!" I yelled, charging at the Conformities.

As I ran, I flicked my pen, spraying ink all over the Conformities. Behind me, Voice flung open the tool-box and the Literary Devices came to life, their screens glowing bright.

"Run like the wind!" shouted Simile.

I raced ahead, my legs pedaling furiously, and hurtled through the crowds of panicking Conformities.

"Fair, fierce, forceful fighting is your forte!" screeched Alliteration.

With each repeated letter, I swung the pen out with precise slashes and scattered ink droplets everywhere.

"You are charging through the enemy, your blade flashing. With your pen, you splatter ink everywhere, allowing shining black flowers to bloom from blank canvas and painting life within these dull creatures," chanted Imagery.

My pen spurted ink and covered the Conformities in black. As I passed by, I saw the ink swirl across their white bodies and facial features appear on their once blank faces. They began happily chattering at once, no longer focused on following their orders or doing the same as everyone else.

"Look! I’m me! And you’re you! Uniqueness makes life interesting!"

"I can do whatever I want now! And it doesn’t have to be the same as you! I’M FREE!"

With a smile, I slowed down. Now that I had parted the sea of Conformities, I could clearly see Logic standing there, guarding the caged Imagination.

"Be the knight in shining armor and save Imagination!" hollered Metaphor.

I became noble and brave, galloping towards Imagination with determination.

"Logic!" I called out.

Logic turned around stiffly, one hand clinging to a set of keys and another straightening his tie. "So you’ve come now to rescue Imagination. My apologies but I cannot allow you to do so."

"Why not?" I challenged. Behind Logic, Imagination stirred, her body sparkling a million different colors.

"Why should I? She’s the opposite of me. I cannot accept that. Logic is based on solid truth while Imagination’s based only on fantasies and nonsense." Logic spoke calmly, but the hand holding onto the keys tightened, knuckles whitening.

Words tumbled out of my mouth. "Ignorance is making you think that. You and Imagination aren’t complete opposites. Imagination explores what can be with all the amazing things that can happen. But Logic? Logic explores what should be with figuring out what’s right and wrong. I mean, you won’t do anything until you see rhyme or reason for it, right? You’re willing to hear out the craziest things and accept everything once you take a good look at the situation. You see, both you and Imagination are open-minded---the opposite of Ignorance! So be open-minded now and accept Imagination!"

Logic stared at me for a very long moment before giving me a tiny nod. "I agree. Impressive, young one. You used Imagination and Logic to reach this far. Here, as your reward." He dropped the keys into my palm. "Farewell, Writer. I will deal with Ignorance in your stead. Free Imagination and escape from here. Good luck."

Then he disappeared. A little sadness uncoiled inside of me at the thought of Logic facing Ignorance alone but I gritted my teeth. I had to believe in him. I had to believe in myself! I fished out the keys and unlocked the cage.

Imagination serenely floated out, turning to me with a lilting grin. "You’ve been through quite a bit, my brave adventurer. Breathe easy—the hard part’s over now." I let out a deep breath and laughed at that. "Be at peace. I will send you home now. Hold on tight!"

Shimmering wings sprouted from her back. Swiftly, Imagination bundled me into her arms and soared upwards, surging towards the ceiling. I shrieked and clung to her, gasping as we came closer and closer to the top of the cube. Almost there…almost th---

Suddenly, everything went black.

I blinked. I was back home, sitting in my comfy chair, surrounded by crumpled balls of paper, staring blankly at a wall.

I blinked again.

At once, I was rushing towards the computer. Swiftly, my fingers began to type. "So there I was…"

Link to Free Writing Contest for Kids

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