Monday, March 18, 2013

The Power of Photos to Inspire Writing #1

Creative Concepts 

If one picture is worth a thousand words, can the same picture inspire a thousand words?

            What do you do when your brain becomes oatmeal, your fingers become lead, and you watch the cursor on your monitor blink endlessly without moving even one millimeter? Brew another cup of coffee? Vacuum the rugs? Take the dog out for a walk? Pray for inspiration?
            “I wasn’t born to vacuum rugs,” writes Elizabeth Guy, poet, storyteller, and co-author of Reflect and Write.  “That’s why, when my brain turns to stone while I struggle for new ideas, I use photographs for inspiration.”
A New Photo Every Week

            Whether you’re a teacher, a student, an aspiring writer, a professional writer, or a poet, you’ll discover that the photos and ideas posted here during the coming weeks will help you overcome the dreaded “writer’s block,” while at the same time inspiring you to create new and exciting works of prose and poetry.
            Sometimes direct quotations will accompany the photos. At other times, suggested first lines will serve as motivation for writing.  Occasionally, specific suggestions will present challenges. From time to time, keywords will stimulate ideas. 
            For even more information about using photos to inspire writing, click on these links: and
            Please note: feel free to download the photos for your personal use as inspiration; for use in classrooms or workshops; or for use in your blog with credit to Hank Kellner and a link to For commercial use please contact the author for rates. For information about and to purchase Reflect and Write: 300 Poems and Photos to Inspire Writing, please visit at Photos by the author.

 Four Chairs

    Four empty chairs are lined up in front of a coffee shop. One can’t help wondering why the chairs are empty. Did something happen that caused the former occupants of the chairs to flee?  Who were these people? What were they thinking? Where did they come from? Did they speak the same language?

Keywords: leisure, danger, abandoned, empty

              1. Write descriptions of each of the four people who might  have occupied the chairs.  
              2. Write a monologue in which you describe one or more of the chair’s occupants from the point of view of one of the chairs.
              3.  Reveal the thoughts of someone who had sat in one of the chairs.
Possible opening lines:

A. At first I was happy to find a delightful coffee shop in Rome that wasn’t crowded with tourists. But when I settled into the a chair in front of the shop, my day was ruined when…


B. Rui finished arranging the four chairs and stepped back into the shadow of the café awning. He leaned against the door jamb and glanced along the thoroughfare. He scanned the crowds for the middle aged woman who would order an espresso and sit in the third chair most days.  Rui glanced at his watch, 10.50, it wouldn’t be long.  
Coming Next Week

Why isn't this boy wearing clothes?

Another Helpful Source for Inspiration

For more photos and information not included in this blog, please visit 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. 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 (Prufrock Press, 2013), 153 pages, $24.95.



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