Tuesday, January 12, 2010

One Picture = 1000 Words - # 2

You've heard the saying that "a single picture is worth a thousand words" and we all know that to be true. As a writer, I have used this exercise many times to jump start that part of my brain that daydreams, imagines, wonders, and creates. Variations of light and shadow combined with soft slivers of sensuous color do magical things when we least expect it. They inspire and awe us. They demand that we interpret their beauty with whatever medium is at hand. For a writer, poet, or reader, that would be words. Play along with me as I periodically post a photo along with my interpretation. Please add yours in the comment area, as well. It can be a paragraph, or just a single word. The important thing is to free your imagination. Allow it to go wherever it will and to bring back what only you can find.
     For me, this photo brings to mind such words as: Alien, Lost, Hidden, Quest, Survival. Following up on that train of thought, I now try to write something that uses both the feeling the photo conjures and the actual description of the photo. It's great fun and helps me keep my thought processes fluid and unrestrained.

Narrative Exercise: The golden, monotone landscape did nothing for my unusually good sense of direction. Neither did the myriad of jutting monoliths standing in rigid arrogance as they observed my puny efforts to navigate their terrain. Legend said that each marked the grave of an ancient queen of Azadral. But I sought only one, my own.
~Lynda Coker~


  1. I like the photo but I'm a dullard when it comes to imagination. You wrote a lovely piece. I thought: stone sentinels, afternoon shadows, late sunlight turning the red sand to copper, and desert silence. I really like this feature though.

  2. Awesome pic! Very thought provoking!

    I thought: ancient, hot, ritual, and lost. Ha! I'd be willing to find out more on those pillars. It would be fun to see what civilization built them and why. Always interesting to learn about the people of the world around us. :)

  3. The heat tore through my skin and muscle like the lazer blasts I had just narrowly escaped. Chung would not dare look for me down on this God-forsaken planet. I checked my pockets for about the hundreth time searching again for some form of relief for my burning throat. The pain of my lips kept me from trying to lick them at least, but my tongue felt as thick and dry as these rock sentinels. I wonder what they're all about anyway. Rocks don't just stand up like that. They had to be placed in their positions, but I could make out no pattern that made sense. The ships computer confirmed this planet as uninhabited...so why did it all feel so erie. "Thinking like that will have me jumping at shadows if I'm not careful." I turned and looked back at the tragic chaos of my busted scout ship. I barely made it out in one piece...but still...it was a loss hard to take. No one knew where I was, nor would anyone be looking for me. This was definately one of those situations that called for a cool head. But a cool head in this firey heat, well I knew where that thought was going. I took another look around at the stillness of this world. It looked ancient, abandoned...no signs of civilization that I could detect. I walked a few feet further in the red colored sand and could feel my knees begin to buckle. "whoa," I said aloud, swaying from side to side. I needed to rest. The heat, the crash landing and the landscape itself was taking a toll on my much depleted strength. I moved around to the shaded side of one of the largest rock pillars collapsing with my back resting on the rock. My head was swimmy and I still felt weak, and wobblely. "I just need to rest for five or ten minute." I said, again out loud. Was I already beginning a bad habit, talking to myself? I didnt get an answer to that, no surprises there. I was totally and unequivacally all alone. "Face it girl, it's you and this hot as hell planet you crashed us onto." I mumbled again as I tore a strip of material from my shirt and began tying my hair up off my neck. With a big sigh I thought, "there that feels better," but it didn't. It did not help not one bit..the heat filled the space left empty and sat there heavily on the back of my neck. I'd been in tough situations before, but this one was turning out to be one for the history books. I closed my eyes to shut out the heat. I was trying to shut out my obvious life or death perdicament. "What am I going to do?" "How am I going to survive the next few hours, and finally how am I going to get off this planet and away from this strange, stark, solemn place filled with these mind numbing unending, as far as the eye could see, 'Stone Hedge' look-a-likes.
    -patricia elliott-

  4. I must have dozed, for how long I had no idea. I awoke to a familiar sound. The roar and sputter of an engine in trouble. How many times have I heard that sound, I wondered to myself, not bothering to open my eyes, but I did continue to listen to see if what I thoght I heard was for real. The sonic boom I heard as something moving in fast hit the atmoshpere was unmistakable. My next thought was, that by some luck of the draw, Chung had found me down here on this planet. "Not good," I said aloud as I pryed my eyes open to look for the ship I heard. I raised up on my knees and start scanning the fierce blue sky with a hand sheilding my eyes. My slight sheild of dirty fingers didn't help much, the intensity of the light hurt almost as much as the heat, but I did spot the ship coming in at what looked like uncontrolable speed. If I calculated the angles correctly, and I always new my angles, that ship was going to crash land barely a mile out from where I was. If I was wrong then that ship was going to crash about......about where I was now standing. I just stared at the oncoming ship rooted to the spot. No strength to run if I was wrong, and so I waited for the outcome. The pilot kept trying to do a quick free fall start of the engines but I could tell by the sound that it failed. HIs only chance now was to come in at the right angle that would have him skimming a crash landing instead of panicing and putting the ship in a nose dive which would pretty much pulverize the ship and everyone in it. Not that I knew anything about crash landings right?!

    As I watched the ship began to grow in size as it moved in closer and lower. I had to hand it to the pilot, he was not panicking. The ship looked like it was going to do a fast skim and bounce landing. It would certainly rattle and roll and the damage would be considerable but if the engine could be fixed then I might have a way off this planet. My stomach felt as if it were moving up into my chest as I watched the aircraft come in for a hard landing. THe sun glinted off the hull of the ship nearly blinding me as the vehicle made its first tentative skim across the hard packed desert. It quickly bounced back up and came down again a little harder and again bounced back up. The next series of hits and bounces became audible and scary as the ship came in closer and closer to where I was standing next to my 'stone hedge'. The hard hitting skimming began to take its toll as parts of the hull began pealing off and go flying out across the desert. The ship began sliding across the deserts blood red sand and started taking out the 'stone hedges'. Banging into one after another, shattering them into huge pieces that were flung across the desert along with more bits of this and that from the ships hull. I watched for what seemed forever and yet took no time at all until the ship came to a stand still, as I had accurately calculated, about a mile from me and to my left. The sand and smoke and steam were all swirling over the desert floor moving toward me as the momentum of the crash continued to disturb the atmosphere. Within minutes I could smell the heat and dust from the crash which reminded me that there might be survivors though the ship and suffered a good amount of damage, though in my opinion it was as good a landing as could be hoped for under the circumstances.

    Chung or no Chung I had to get to that ship. As I saw it, I could die a slow painful death out here in this desert alone. Roasted alive. Hmm not a good idea. Or I could go see who or what survived that crash and face an uncertain future, but one that could possibly mean living. THe sun was beginning to set, but I could walk that mile before darkness fully set in and if I could get inside I'd have shelter for the night, water perhaps, and food, company and if it was my lucky day transportation back to civilization. -patricia elliott-

  5. Patricia,

    Loving this story already. You've got me sweating and tasting the gritty sand. :) I love finding a story in a photo. Obviously, you do too. Thanks so much for entertaining us.