Thursday, August 16, 2012

Stories Within...

About six weeks ago, I had a strange dream, about a bare room, photos flashing on a wall, and being tasked with writing a paragraph for each one.  When I woke up, and couldn't make sense of such a weird dream, I decided to reenact it by randomly selecting six pictures from my photo program and writing something.  It was a fun and interesting experiment, though it didn't give me the next book plot I was hoping for.

So, because it's another bloody hot day over 100* and I can't think of anything relevant--or even irrelevant--to write about, I'm going to do it again.

Six photos, randomly snagged (without looking) from a collection of approximately 4K, all taken by me.  Six stories, plucked from the myriad seething in my head...

The crew responsible for paving the new sidewalks had taken a very long lunch to celebrate Joe's 50th birthday and Stan's retirement, with many a toast made and glass raised.  By the time they returned to the job site, there was a rush to finish the last sidewalk; it was Friday, after all.

The tree soared to dizzying heights, the first branches at least sixty feet above the ground.  Growing unfettered in the deep forest for nearly two centuries, the spirit of the tree pondered the unfamiliar noise that wafted on the breeze.  A buzzing, like an enormous wasp, then a loud crashing as if a great storm had torn a fellow tree asunder.  It was still puzzling over the sounds when the first loggers came over the rise.

**Two men drown trying to ford the river.  The people and their animals need to get across, no matter the season.  A decision is made in the tiny Highland village: a bridge must be built.  And so it is.  The arch is perfect, the stones fit tight and proper, there is no cement, concrete or plaster.  It is a marvel of construction, and human skill.  It is 295 years old.  How did they accomplish such a thing in 1717?

The death mask had been buried for hundreds of years in the ancient cemetery of the old Abbey.  During a restoration of the grounds, it was unearthed, cleaned and carbon dated.  No one knew who the man was.  His story was written in his face, though no one in the 21st century could read the language.

She was old now, and decrepit.  Her coloring had faded, making her appear dull and lifeless.  The landscaping had overgrown the beautiful gardens where Italian aristocracy had once danced on the terrace under the moon as it glittered across the Bay of Naples.  Her eyes were closed, shuttered and dark, no longer gleaming over the sea with bright lights and music.  Once the pride of a noble family, she stood forgotten and diseased, her death slow and torturous.

They gathered in the dead oak because it amused them; any dead thing was solely their domain.  Arrogant, superior to every other life form on the planet, they did as they pleased, went where they pleased, and caused fear and panic whenever they circled in the sky.  It didn't matter if it was man or beast, bird or reptile: the vultures always got the last word.

N.B.  If interested in where my photos were taken...
Top to bottom: Drunken sidewalk in Laramie, Wyoming; Tree in Redwood Forest National Park, California; Carrbridge, the Highlands, Scotland; Stone death mask, Dryburgh Abbey, the Borders, Scotland; Grimaldi mansion, Sant'Agnello, Italy; Turkey Vultures, Southern Oregon.

**True story.  I didn't make that one up.  I couldn't begin to make up something that would be better than the truth.  Carrbridge is an amazing place, and the bridge is just beyond belief.


  1. What a brilliant idea! I think I'll take a page out of your book and do the same with some of my random photos. Too cool. Love the windy sidewalk and the shot in Turkey.

    1. It's a great writing experiment. The trick is to be totally random about selecting the photos, at least if you're trying to do flash fiction like I've done.