Monday, February 4, 2013

Pictures Inspire Storytelling

    In the last several days  three pictures from my past have been  posted on Facebook , each resurrecting a  sweet memory  from  a time long ago, including the one I downloaded  yesterday  to celebrate my girlfriend, Susan's  63rd birthday. Susan and I have been friends since we were in first grade and  often walked home from school together. Susan attended Zion Lutheran on one corner street in Maywood, a quaint  bedroom community  in southeast Los Angeles, while I attended the Catholic school, St. Rose of Lima , on the opposite corner. After eight years at  parochial schools, we both found ourselves starting as Freshman  at Bell High, where our friendship  would deepen and grow stronger. The picture I posted on Facebook was taken in the summer of 1967  while we were visiting my dad  at his home in  St. Louis. Susan and I were 16 years old.  My little brother, Walt was with us.

    The reason I share about  these pictures  on a writing blog is to show how photos  can  help us as writers to recall special times, places and people in our lives. For instance, the picture I  posted on Facebook of my friend Susan and I brings to mind how her parents said she  could make the trip to St. Louis with me as long as she earned the money to pay for her expenses, and how  Susan and  I  came up with a brilliant idea -  to collect pop bottles  (in those years redeemable for cash) .  Both of us took a  grocery cart and walked up and down Gage Avenue - a busy street  in our hometown of Bell -  day after day for several weeks to   search for empty pop bottles, until our carts were filled.  Besides checking  out  the laundry mat, Arvo's Market, the shoe repair shop, Jim's Hair House ,  and Clingman's Hardware, we looked under bushes, parking lots and trash cans. We became  bottle scavengers  - experts in our field! No pop bottle was left for someone else to find. We claimed them all.   In the end,  Susan's cup , or should I say,  her  cart was overflowing, and   exceeded  in cash needed   for her to make the trip.

    There are other pictures I look at   from long ago,  like the one of  my brother, Walt and  his  girlfriend (at the time), Patty with my   husband, Gary,  and me. I  can almost hear our shared laughter when we would picnic in the park and camp at San Onofre. I think of our marathon  ping pong games and playing Monopoly.  Seeing those pictures help remind me of who we were, about our  hopes and dreams,  and from where  we  came, and who we are now.   My mother recently repeated  the old adage,   " A picture is worth a thousand words".  I don't know  about a thousand words, but  as  writers,  I do know  if we can see  those pictures  perfectly, through a clean, clear lens we will find  a story to tell.

    Whether you're writing a  story of fiction, poetry or memoir, I encourage you to look at pictures from your   past to remind you of people, places and things that help inspire  you to  write your  storytelling adventures.






Anonymous said...

So right you are about photos! Thank you ! They do bring back so many happy memories. You are one amazing writer! jm

Patty said...

You're right, pictures do invoke memories and in the case of these two you've selected such happy ones! Thanks Kath!

Anonymous said...

I LOVED IT! What a nice tribute to your long-time friend. You both haven't changed much as a few years have been added but those smiles are still the same. :)