A Picture from Another Lifetime
This is the twenty-eighth installment of The Curious Creative, weekly 10-minute writing exercises for busy individuals interested in exploring their creativity. For the complete rationale, click here.
Old pictures of ourselves have the power to transport us to what feels like a lifetime ago compared to the world we live in now, to a different person on a foreign planet. Spending time with a photograph can conjure up details you haven’t thought of in years, perhaps even ones that have been buried in your subconscious. In this week’s activity, you will use an old picture to unearth long-forgotten details and emotional truths.
- Choose a photograph from one of your “other lives,” from a long time ago and a totally different world than the one you live in now.
- Freewrite about this photo beginning with description. Explore these questions:
· Where are you? What does it look like?
· What time of day is it? What is the light like?
· What does it smell like?
· How are you occupying the space? What is your body doing?
· What are you wearing? How do you feel in that clothing?
· What does it feel like to be there?
· Where have you just been and where are you going?
- Read your freewrite. Notice that something is at stake. What is the question you are asking? Write down that question. Example: Why did I want to be right in the middle of this?
- Write a poem that begins by answering this question. It’s the exploration we’re interested in. When you hit an emotional truth, you’ll know it. Keep going even if it is nonsensical. Feel free to pull in some of the golden lines from your freewrite.
How did you do? Did you uncover an emotional truth from that moment? Does your piece explore multiple layers? Are there moments of heat in your poem?
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