Friday, July 5, 2013

This Picture - Writing What We Do Not See

Country Road
Photo by Amy LV

Click the arrow to hear me read this poem to you.

Students - One exercise I have tried in a writing workshop is to "write about a photo that has never been taken, a photo that should have been taken".  This is a great exercise because there are so many meaningful snips in our lives that we do not document with pictures.  As a second part of this exercise, sometimes the leader asks us to write about the story that does not show in the photograph.  Every photograph has things you can see...and things you cannot see.

This morning, driving Henry home from his swim practice, we were tickled to see a parade of ducklings crossing the road with their mom.  I put on my flashing lights, stopped the car, got my camera, and the two of us got out to look.  Wobble, wobble went the ducklings into the tall grass, and my camera was not quick enough to catch it!

Today's driving surprise was an gift, a reminder of the unexpected beauties that wait around every corner.  This photograph and poem, my souvenirs of that moment in time, nudge me to find magic in unlikely places.  I find myself wondering about all of the befores and afters of every moment I have ever lived, the happenings right before and right after I leave a meadow or a room.

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  1. I had to laugh, Amy. You should see the picture I took for my poem this week. Stef

  2. A darling subject and creative approach -- I want to try this writing exercise. Your posts always make me smile and often inspire me. Thanks so much, Amy!

  3. "A photo that has never been taken." Writing that one down. I love your poem today!

  4. I love it! Reminds me of all those times I grab the camera and am too late to get the photo. Next time I'll just take the pic and write what you can't see!

  5. I always think I need to get a faster camera, but maybe not, maybe I should just enjoy the memory and write about it? Wonderful poem Amy & nice to imagine the little duck family (ah-Robert McCloskey).

  6. Recently, I was visiting my parents in Mississippi and we saw a doe and her fawn walk across the road. No way to capture such a fleeting moment. In fact, my father asked, "Did the fawn still have its spots?" I never thought about writing it into a poem until I read your post. Thanks for being such an inspiration and asking us to write about what others may or may not see.

  7. Life often happens to fast to be caught on film. Or even in our memories. So much is lost for every moment we manage to save in words.

  8. First - so glad those duckies made it. Second - mysteries DO hide in photographs! The what happened before this shot or after this shot is something I think about when I'm looking over old family pictures. Sometimes, I remember...but most often, I do not.

  9. Now there's something I can do with all the photo subjects I miss--take late photos and write poems about what I missed!

    Love your point of view, as always.

    Violet N.

  10. LOVE this poem, Amy, as well as the lesson you have shared with all of us. There are always stories... you just have to find them, whether in reality or in your imagination. And if you can capture the story, like you have, all the better!