Okay, writers! Or readers, for that matter. You all rock and would probably enjoy this exercise too. I would be sooo happy if you tried this and told me what happened afterwards. I picked up this fun little exercise from one of my writing profs this week.
Go and find an antique/old/vintage picture, preferably not related to you or your family. The more obscure, the better. If you can’t find one, maybe you could just use one of these pictures… (picture1 picture2 picture3 picture4 picture5) I suppose any picture would work, really, as long as you don’t know anything about it or the situation in which it was taken. But please feel free to find your own, one that piques your interest.

Then after that, somehow turn it into language. Yes, I realize that’s vague. My prof did that to all of us in her class too. How does the picture speak to you? Just let me know. And try it before you read the rest of this, otherwise it will kind of defeat the purpose of this post.


Did you try it? Let me know in the comments. You may now proceed to the rest of my tirade.


Poetry escapes me. I try reading it, and the only thing I’ll pick up on is how it makes me feel (which, most often with contemporary poetry, is just plain frustrated). What makes good poetry? I’m personally a fan of the classic poetry of the Romantic and Victorian eras (“She Walks in Beauty” or “The Lady of Shallot,” anyone?). I’ll definitely read Tennyson, Keats, and some Byron, but this new stuff is just too abstract.

Maybe it comes with the territory of being a fiction writer; I love having a story in poetry. Modern poetry doesn’t always do that. It doesn’t even make sense. For instance, The Loch Ness Monster’s Song by Edwin Morgan. I just don’t understand.

Do you yearn for narrative, or is that just a majority of my class at my college? What do you think drives humanity towards narrative, and what makes narrative so addicting or magical for you?

And just out of personal curiosity… do any of you make up stories for random people, houses, or scenes that you see while driving or walking or sitting in coffee shops? Just wondering if I’m alone in this or if it’s a semi-common thing. Thanks!