Let’s talk rocks…

stones in different colors

Long summer days under the pines in North Carolina could be very boring without some creativity. Store bought toys had to stay in the house, but I didn’t want to stay inside. My solution was playing with rocks. I built rock cities, simple at first, but increasingly complex and large. I invented elaborate stories for these cities and eventually competing agendas led to conflict.

The cities fielded rock armies, tanks and aircraft, I even developed imaginary technology for the cities to wage war on one another. A handy lead pipe sparking on the rocks as countless battles raged across my front yard gave me a satisfying release I wouldn’t have dared with store bought toys. I even drew a map and worked out a history for the Valley of Nod that I named my imaginary country.

Building and breaking rock cities didn’t seem odd at the time. What I remember most are the stories and building conflict that kept me occupied for days at a time. The first characters I imagined inhabited the Valley of Nod, and the first stories I constructed played out there too. I only wish I’d written them down, instead of narrating them in my head.

When I write now, I have all the years I spent in the Valley of Nod bringing an imaginary world to life to guide me in my world building. The characters and conflict I write about now is more refined, the settings are far different, but a part of every story I tell hearkens back to those summer days under North Carolina pine trees. I’ll rock on, as long as I’m able.

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