Do You See a Picture?



Or do you see a story?

So you’re an aspiring writer, blogger, creative artist, whatever you want.  Chances are you spend about 2/3 of your time pursuing your passion, and 1/3 of your time reading blogs or interviews of those who are already seen as masters.  For those of us trying to write, we read books on craft, memoirs of writers, interviews, blogs… anything we can get our hands on really.  And a lot of the time the same sentiment pops up.

“If you’re really a writer, you can’t not tell a story.”  I agree.  Mostly.  But a lot of authors take it a step farther and say things like, “I can’t see a shoe on the street without making up a backstory of how it got there.”  Really?  I mean sure, the shoe could be the magical boot of a king from a thousand years ago… Or it could have fallen off of the back of a truck.  I don’t walk around all day creating stories for every loose item I see around (although if you’re someone who does, I admire your creativity).  But I also can’t look at an incredible picture like the one above and simply move on.

Chances are that if you’re like me, you wonder at the picture.  You think about it.  You want it to be a part of something bigger.  What was the photographer doing at the top of the hill at night? What were they thinking?  Did they go up there to escape something?

Now the thoughts are really flowing.  They were running away from a small town nestled in the snowy mountains… They were tired, having just gone up the steep slope but they knew they couldn’t stop moving.  At the same time, they couldn’t help but turn around for one last look at the beautiful sight beneath them.  Their heart wrenched in their chest because they knew they probably would never see that place ever again.  And then they vanished over the ridge.  What happened next?

Anything.  Anything you, or I, or the photographer want to happen next, could happen next. That’s an exciting thought.


And some pictures deserve their thousand words.  Do you see 1,000 words in the picture at the beginning of this post?

4 comments on “Do You See a Picture?”

  1. Well said. I must admit to being one of those weirdo writers who sees a back story in wverything. In fact, as of late, I have begun to identify with Walter Mitty. A LOT. Its a compulsion. Living in my dream world takes the edge off of the “real” one, whatever that is. 🙂

  2. I don’t see a story in everything but I see stories in a lot of things. A shoe in the road didn’t used to make me think. Then one day I saw a shoe in the road. Later that day, in the exact same spot was a different shoe. Now that has a story.

  3. I like your style David; you’re a stimulus. For me most stimuli put me in philosophical mood, so for example the image above, ‘Do you see picture?’, might tip me into a reflection on the seam of privilege that runs through most countries without enriching the needy either side. Such wealth generates money but it doesn’t ‘trickle down’ except to others who are wealthy. Nevertheless, in fictional mode, musing on the picture causes me to think of ‘the last heroes of an age’, the vikings perhaps, Tolkien’s elves or Lewis’ speech-endowed animals, drawn out of the human world, their final exodus.Good luck by the way with the editing and publishing.

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