Day 24- Dancing In The Dark by Robin Stein

Write a story inspired by a song

StoryADay Prompt Illustration

The Prompt

Listen to Dancing in the Dark by Bruce Springsteen and watch the video.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=129kuDCQtHs You have few options: 1–Write to the music as you are listening. 2–Dance with the music to get you in the spirit before you write. 3–Use the lyrics to spark your story idea.

Robin Stein

Robin Stein lives and writes memoir, poetry and fiction in Newton, MA. She finds inspiration in music and dance. robinsteincreative.org

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17 thoughts on “Day 24- Dancing In The Dark by Robin Stein”

  1. I forgot to comment on this on Tuesday. This was good fun, thanks Robin. Having a song helped pull me out of a creative funk. I didn’t manage to write the story but I got an outline done. The lyrics fitted well for a character I’ve used for 2 other prompts this month. I’d like to try this again with other songs too.


    They met by chance, by happenstance,
    At the fair that day.
    Now the amusement park was quiet and dark
    And they came out to play.

    Two young teens, mere in-betweens,
    Dancing in the street.
    Then slipping back into the cracks
    Nevermore to meet.

  3. A great prompt! I used the lyrics to spark the story idea, then played the song and others I like while I was writing. Will definitely have to do that more often. I wrote a 644 word scene from a longer piece I am writing. The character has to finally put the past behind him so that he can enjoy the future.

  4. I used a reference to Springsteen and his song to cap my latest 100-word story. It worked well. I have now written at least one drabble a day for a full month (having begun on April 25.) I don’t see any reason to stop at the end of May. I’ve completed a few longer stories, too, but the drabble is the thing I do in the morning, every day, like brushing my teeth. I love the form. I love being able to try out different voices and genres. I love almost-but-not-quite saying what I mean. The difficulty is having a sense of movement and completion in just 100 words. But the failures often turn out to be the germs of longer stories.

    1. Hi Jim, So happy the prompt worked for you. Sounds like you have a great writing practice each morning! Robin

  5. So, I kind of cheated and picked a different song. It still has dancing in the title, though. It’s Dancing in the Living Room by Cameron Hawthorn(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pgHDeOHFHG0). It’s another short one, maybe more a moment than a full story.

    “I’m sorry.”
    Lee glanced over at Smith as they kept scrolling through their phone. “For what?”
    “You were all set to go out with your friends, and I ruined that.”
    Lee connected their phone to their speakers and hit play on the list they’d spent earlier putting together. They’d thought something like this was going to happen. They held out their hand and waited for Smith to take it. Ze did just as the music started.
    “Do you think I really need a fancy night out?” Lee asked.
    “You wanted to go,” Smith said. “You wanted to dance tonight.”
    Lee pulled Smith in close and started to move to the music. “And that’s just what we’re doing. Our living room works just as well as any club. As long as I have you in my arms, the rest doesn’t matter.”
    They danced until the playlist ended. “This,” Lee said, “is the perfect end to my day.”

  6. Fan Letter to Bruce Springsteen

    Dear Bruce
    I was at your concert last night. The one you were taping for your “Dancing in the Dark” video. Due to be released soon, I hope. It was FAB-u-Lush.
    I think, no, I know! It is your best song ever.
    I have a question to ask. Excuse me if I am being too personal. Do you shave your chest? I know the rage is smooth pecs, but a few curlies peeking out would be perfection. Think Tom Selleck. I also noticed a small scuff on the heel of your right boot, when you turned your tushie to me. Quite the wiggle you got going on there, although I don’t think all those young women can really appreciate it like I do.
    No ring? I hope everything is okay with your and Julianne. But, if it’s not, you know who to call. Perhaps a woman with a titch more experience would be a better partner for you.
    But let’s get back to your image. I have a couple of suggestions. Again, I hope I am not overstepping the boundaries. Have you considered a fancy belt buckle, or maybe a cape, like The King? Or maybe straighten your hair or grow a moustache like Ringo did.
    AND! Who was that girl? The one at the end. Does Julianne know about her? Not that it matters if she knows. I do not approve. Her eyes are way too wide and her hair is hideous.
    If my hip wasn’t bothering me so much, I could have fought those crowds and it would have been me dancing in the dark with you.
    All my love and adoration,
    PS. My husband, Frankie, gets very jealous, so don’t call my house. (555-555-5555)

  7. Thank you for selecting the song, for this wonderful prompt, Robin. God bless you. Here is my story :

    “I get up in the evenin’/And I ain’t got nothin’ to say
    I come home in the mornin’/I go to bed feelin’ the same way

    God!” I said to myself, turning over, trying to cover the back of my head with a pillow. “This boy sure spells doom for me.”
    I was in my room. It was almost 2 AM. The space beside me in the bed was yet to be slept in. Neil, my son, was still in the other room doing God knew what! Practising for the Dance Contest was what he was doing, as he told me after a while.

    I removed the pillow when the noise was being too much to put up with. I leapt out of bed, went out to the adjacent room and poked my nose in.

    “I ain’t nothin’ but tired/ Man, I’m just tired and bored with myself… . ”

    “You’ll be like that only if making a career out of dancing is what you are hell-bent on!”

    He didn’t hear me and … … .

    Naturally, I got inside to walk up to the music system behind him and turned it off.

    “What in heaven’s name do you think you’re doing, Dad? Don’t you know that tomorrow is the final selection?” He looked livid.

    “What’s the time, Sonny? I don’t mind you practising till eternity but there is something called civic sense. I’s not born lucky trying to dance my way to stardom like you may be. If I fail to report at the factory before time tomorrow, soon you may have to go around with a bowl in your hand… ”

    Neil gave me a queer look and sauntered across to turn on the music. But this time, he had his ear phones plugged in his ears.

    Unknown to him, once the lights were dimmed, I sneaked in the local Club Auditorium the next day, where the audition was going on, The participants were being called out one after another. Western Music was finally getting very popular with the modern generation of the Indian youths, I thought. Neil was called to come on stage.

    Dressed like the poor kid that he was, Neil made his appearance looking a total misfit amongst the other gorgeous contestants.

    One of the Judges, speaking in Bengali in an American accent, asked him the details before asking him the title of the score he wanted to be played.

    “I’ve selected Bruce Springsteen’s ” Dancing in the Dark,” he replied meekly.

    “What!” The elderly Judge in the middle of the three, exclaimed quizzically.”You weren’t even born, I’m sure, when Bruce performed it live on stage for the first time!”

    “I chose it as I found it stashed in a bundle one day. I liked the lyrics and the tune. I’d a feeling that it was God’s gift to me!”

    All three Judges looked impressed.

    “One final question – what or who inspired you to take to dancing? The lady in a shining one piece with a part of the shoulder and most of her right leg upto her knee, bared, queried.

    “My Dad,” He paused before hurrying on to add, “though unknowingly. Besides, I want to help him for toiling very hard for so many years both as my Mom and Dad…”

    “Why? What about your Mom, Neil is the name, right?”

    “She died in a car accident.” He stood looking down at the floor.

    “Sorry. She had a car?”

    “No, she was walking across the street on her way back from workplace when the car came from behind.. ” He stopped abruptly, unable to continue any more.

    There was sympathy waves swaying across the auditorium as the elderly man asked the Compare for the score.

    I need a love reaction
    Come on now, baby, gimme just one look
    You can’t start a fire
    Sittin’ ’round cryin’ over a broken heart
    This gun’s for hire

    I couldn’t believe my eyes! The boy I had nearly given up on, was dancing like a pro, moving her hand up over his head, shaking and bending his legs like I’d seen the master perform in a video. The crowds went wild singing and dancing with him.
    There was a thunderous reaction from them as the performance came to an end with :

    Even if we are dancing in the dark… and Neil bowed down to the audience. I thought that was a mistake.

    Neil was not selected! He didn’t feature among the 16 lucky winners!
    These days, most of these auditions are for eye-wash. Very seldom the deserving ones get through, I muttered as I slipped out of the auditorium.

    The room was in complete darkness when I came back home. Neil was lying in bed pretending to be asleep, with his back to the door.
    The room was bathed in brightness as I switched on the light.

    “You’re in bed early, Champs! How was the Contest?” Neil was taken aback by the way I addressed him.

    “I’ve been thinking about it, Dad. You were right. I can’t make a career out of dancing.”

    “Says who?” I countered, keeping my shirt on the hook and deliberately taking time not to let him sense the tremor in my voice. Then I put my hand in the front picket and brought out the ticket. ” There’s another Contest coming up soon in South Kolkata. And I want you to participate..”

    There was a stunned look on his face. It was for the first time he had heard anything encouraging from me!

    “I …I ain’t so sure anymore, Dad,” he stamnered out.

    “You are the best I’ve seen in years.” Without letting him distract me, I carried on, ” I am Not going to make the same mistake that my dad did in the late 80’s. I was not bad at it, you know, though I must admit that I was dancing in the dark. You know what that means?”

    Neil nodded his head, bewilderment writ large on his face before venturing out, “I do. Mom told me just before she died. She also showed me the video… . ”

    I took time to digest this bit of information as I always thought that Dad and Rita paired up against whatever notions I had of making it as a dancer. “Dad’s harsh words reduced me to this life of utter monotony and misery eventually! You’re good, my boy. Remember, it’s a sin to give up on your dreams.”

    The smile on his face was worth more than anything for me right then.
    He plunged out of bed as the spring was back on his feet before taking me aback with, ” I’ll go put on the kettle, Dad as you’ve had a long day….”

    The end

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