Every Picture Tells a Story

Saturday, June 29, 2019
So, if you're my age, you read that post title and Rod Stewart's voice immediately belted out. Right away, in your head you see all that blonde hair flowing through the air. You're laughing as he shakes his rear end. If you have no clue what I'm talking about, I'm not going to give you a link. You're just going to have to hunt for it, you young whippersnapper.

No, this isn't a post for the Rod Stewart fan club. Almost five decades ago I was the co-president of a two-member Partridge Family David Cassidy fan club... but that's another story for another time.

No, this is a post about the power of pictures. Photographs and paintings can take us places. They can send us off into unexpected directions. Images have a way of accessing our creativity in amazing ways.

I was reminded of this last week. A colleague shared a link full of famous photos from 2018 as a writing prompt. We were told to choose one and write a story... a poem... an essay. The instant I saw this photo, the ink was flowing across the page.

Without even pondering it, I had the story this picture told. (You might have to make the photo bigger to see the burned-down house in the background and the abandoned walker in the foreground.)

This is my story: a woman had been faking the need for a walker for the past two years. But for the past 57 years she had been putting up with her husband... and it was so bad, she set fire to the house while he slept (like a log) and after watching their house burn to the ground (he didn't make it out alive--he snored right through the blaze), she left her walker behind and strode away.

Did I wake up that morning with murder on my mind? Uh, no. It was the photo's fault. The picture made me do it.

Here's the link to Time's 100 Top Photos of 2018. There is a warning on the site: some of them are graphic and some might offend you.

So here's the mission, if you choose to accept it: pick one of the pics and write. You choose the direction. You choose the form. Just write.

After all, the group Bread sang "If a picture paints a thousand words..." back in 1971 in the song "If." Perhaps you could jot down a few hundred or a thousand words, inspired by the picture you choose...

(And do me a favor. Let me know which photo you found most inspirational. I'd love to hear which one spoke to you.)

Sioux Roslawski is thinking of using some of these photos to write a few flash fiction pieces (not her thing) or a couple of essays (definitely not her thing). When she's not busy setting up her new classroom (she got a new job in a different school and she's teaching a different subject), she's reading, along with submitting her manuscript to every publisher and agent who has a pulse. You can read more of her stuff at Sioux's Page.


Myna said...

You're spot-on about that Rod Stewart song. Now it's stuck in my head! Now I'm off to look at the photos.

Sue Bradford Edwards said...

Oh, wow. Those photos are amazing. I do think you wrote about one of the best or maybe our brains are just wired the same?

Sioux Roslawski said...

Myna--1) What a great name. 2) I hope you enjoy the photos. They are spectacular, and each one could launch a thousand stories.

Thanks for dropping by. I appreciate it.

Sue--I think it's similar wiring. ;)

Linda O'Connell said...

All of the photos were evoative, but Peas and Carrots, the turkeys and also the woman in pink tennis shoes laying rubber on a motorcycle spoke loudest to me. And that Rod Stewart song is noy an ear worm.

Sioux Roslawski said...

Linda--I enjoyed the one of the turkeys as well. It reminded me of the West Wing episode, where the CJ character had to choose which turkey was going to get pardoned. It was hilarious. After seeing that photo, I realize the reality of it is quite messy.

I also was drawn to the female cyclist.

Sorry. Throw-backs to the past often result in ear worms. At least it's not "Baby Shark."

Myna said...

So many of those photos are overwhelming. Thanks again for posting the link.

Mary Horner said...

Sorry for the delayed response. The photo you posted also spoke to me, didn't come up with an entire plot, but it evoked an emotion that is stirring up a poem, I can feel it! Good reminder that ideas come from all over!

Mary Horner said...

And I forgot to say congratulations on the new job! I'm sure any class is lucky to have you as a teacher!

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