clues at the scene

clues at the scene

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Images, Stories, Inspiration, Write

It is similar to "Lights, Camera, Action." It is what we need as writers. Maybe we should have someone with a clapboard in the library every time we sit to write.

"Images, Stories, Inspiration, Write !"

To craft the story, we need to see some part of it in our mind's eye. I need to see the story in its first sentence. You might need to see some other part.

Today I am inspired because I have a new book. On the recommendation of the _NYT_, I purchased Tim Walker's ( with Robin Muir -ed.) new tome : Tim Walker Story Teller.

Mr. Walker is a fashion photographer among other things. His images will be known to you right off when you look through the book. The image at the upper left is but one of hundreds of fascinating images in the book. It is a "must buy" item either as a gift or as a volume to keep in your personal library for inspiration.

I'm sure all of you who have children are well aware of Mr. Chris Van Allsburg and his volumes Jumanji and The Polar Express.  He also authored what I consider the world's best all-time bedtime book : The Mysteries of Harris Burdick. The Mysteries are a series of black and white line drawings in Mr. Van Allsburg exquisite detail (not a cliche in this case) which serve as prompts for the telling of a wild story. A single line of text is provided with a paired illustration and away you go. My very good friend Taehun wrote a lovely story from one of the visual prompts which features a mole with an odd collecting habit : toupees. Everyone needs a hobby.

So, I'm a fan of Mr. Van Allsburg's work. Tim Walker's pictures work in nearly the same fashion for me.

Girl, bed, crocodile ? Awesome. It might not make it to The New Yorker but it looks damn fun to write. The wallpaper alone takes me to a story. Make the girl a corpse and put the room in Sarasota next to Longboat Key. Leave a pack of matches from a bar in the nightstand drawer as if it had been carelessly swept in there last week in expeditious cleaning.  Label one side of the match book in English, the other in Cyrillic. Now, dead girl with crocodile and Russian matchbook looks just about all you need to get the post-Cold War juices going. Longboat is old spook country and there we have it. Need more than that ? Take up tennis. Put down the pen.

Walker's photographs are great inspiration for the sort of prose we all want to write. Well, that I want to write. I'm a Spitfire flying through the living room type of guy.

Buy a copy. It's pure story.

A couple links here.

Harris Burdick by Van Allsburg

Tim Walker

No comments: