Did you know that the human brain processes visuals 60,000 times faster than it processes text?
Memories of an Outdoor Café
When I saw the little café in Copenhagen, I knew I had to photograph it. Quickly, before the image could disappear from my mind’s eye, I aimed my Leica at the scene and captured it. The lighting was perfect.
“Another shot of a storefront?” remarked my longtime partner and co-author Elizabeth Guy. “You must have a million of them in your files. Don’t you think you’ve photographed enough of them?”
“Maybe,” I responded. ‘But you never know. Someone might be able to use this photo some day.”
Six years later, while we were developing a major project for a publisher of educational materials, Elizabeth walked into my office and handed me a sheet of paper with a poem and a photo printed on it. I hadn’t read the poem before that moment, but I did recognize the photo I’d taken several years earlier.
I met him at an outdoor café
Copenhagen, I think.
We talked until the sun—
A scarlet wafer in the sky—
That’s when he kissed me.
His breath was sweet:
Honey floating in the air.
When morning came,
I reached for him
In our little room
Above the café.
But, like the sun,
Gone like the lovely night—
A misted memory.
Disappeared at morning rise—
Another shattered dream.
Ah, well, I sighed
Long distance relationships
Almost never work out.
“That’s a nice little poem,” I said. “I like the ending. By the way, who was your lover with the sweet breath?”
Elizabeth smiled. “There was no lover. Don’t be such a wise guy.”
“By the way,” I continued, “Isn’t that one of the photos I took while we were in Copenhagen? The one you complained about? The same one about which you said, ‘Don’t you think you’ve photographed enough storefronts?’” Truth to tell, I was beginning to enjoy what I thought would be my moment of triumph.
Elizabeth didn’t miss a beat. “That’s not what I said,” she responded. “That’s your interpretation. The fact is, what I really said was: ‘I’m glad you took that photo. I’m sure that some day it’ll provide inspiration for someone to write a poem or other work.’ I just didn’t know it would be me.” She placed her hands on her hips and smiled.
Knowing that it would be futile to contradict her, I grinned at my partner and offered up the ancient incantation behind which men always hide when they know they’ve been outmaneuvered once again. “Yes, dear. Of course you’re right,” I declared.
Coming Next Week and Every Week Thereafter
Don't miss our upcoming series of evocative photos and accompanying prompts that are sure to inspire writing both in and out of the classroom.
Reflect and Write contains more than 300 poems and photos; keywords; quotations; either “Inspiration” or “Challenge” prompts; a “Themes to Explore” section; a “Twelve Ways to Inspire Your Students” section; a special “Internet Resources” section, and more. This collection will help stimulate discussion that will trigger meaningful writing at many levels. Includes CD with photos and poems from the book.
Reflect and Write: 300 Poems and Photos to Inspire Writing by Hank Kellner and Elizabeth Guy ISBN 978-1-61821-023-4, Prufrock Press, 2013, 153 pages, $24.95. See More and order at http://www.prufrock.com/Reflect-and-Write-P1752.aspx.
Another Helpful Source for Inspiration
Write What You See: 99 Photos to Inspire Writing is a collection of photographs and writing prompts designed to inspire writing. In addition to the many photos and ideas it presents, this collection includes a section that cites “Ten Ways to Use Reflect and Write” as well as a second section titled “How Some Teachers Use Photos to Inspire Writing” An added bonus is a CD with photos and writing prompts.Write What You See: 99 Photos to Inspire Writing by Hank Kellner, Prufrock Press, 2009, ISBN 978-1-877673-83-2, 118 pages, includes CD, $24.95 See more and order at http://www.prufrock.com/Write-What-You-See-P791.aspx