Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Writing Images

This weeks assignments revolved around images.  The phrase that keeps being said is, "show, don't tell."  As cliche as that might be, it is actually a really good way at looking at it.  Simply put, show how the picture is moving, don't tell, or summarize, what is happening.  The gives your images a feeling of motion whereas a summary is just a static picture.  Here is an analogy.  A static image, a.k.a summary, is like a family photo.  It's nice, people look good, but you aren't going to spend the day picking out details.  A picture of a football player diving for a one handed catch with his toes just inside the goal line is the equivalent to "showing" an image.  It isn't easy to do, without some practice, but it is very important if you want to be a good writer.

So, one of the in class exercises we did was to go up the hall, look at the student art that was on display, and then write a poem on it.  We had 30 minutes.  There was some good art, some ok art, and then some really weird art (I actually saw a sculpture of a giant set of teeth...it was weird...nothing else, just teeth.  One of them was gold).  Anyway, I kept getting snagged by this charcoal picture of this girls face.  The only color were her green eyes.  They were almost a turquoise.  I've seen a lot of photos done like this (with photoshop).  The affect, if done right, is very dramatic.  Anyway, I wrote the poem.  After we wrote it, he then made us condense it into a Haiku-esque form.  Haiku being a very loose translation of what we did.  Anyway, here is the poem (unedited) and the two "Haikus" that I wrote.

Your eyes,
they capture me
and tear me asunder.
You watch,
but it is not me
that your vacant eyes follow.
Someone else
that is speared by your gaze.
I beg them to see me,
to burn me with their beauty.
Yet I stand here,
--cold and alone.

Eyes Haiku 1
Vacant eyes
A far-away stare
Leaves me wanting

Eyes Haiku 2
Laughing eyes
They watch another
I am invisible

So, there you have it.  The rest of class involved something called "story cubes".  Essentially, they are a set of dice that have pictures on them.  You roll several of them and then construct a story using those images.  If you get an image more than once, you have to use it more than once.  You also have to pick one of the images and have it as your title, which of course, the story cannot be about.  I'll spare you the gory details of how horrendous my cube story was.  When you have 2 aliens, 2 houses, a lightning bolt, a question mark, a speech bubble, a cellphone, a key, and a shooting star, you are not going to have literary genius.  To make matters worse, we had to roll the dice once more, pick an image, and change the whole context of the story.  I rolled a die, a pyramid, and a book.  Yeah, it was as bad as you are probably imagining.  It was fun, but very hard to do on the spur of the moment.  I think I will have to get a set and start practicing.

Till next time.


  1. I like the full poem, and the haikus as well!

    1. AAAAnnnd...nobody caught the typo, which I have now fixed.

    2. I did...just didn't want to blast you with corrections on your own blog. Twould be most rude! :D

    3. Typo? What typo? I don't see a typo. :-p