Ideas

Writers are often asked where they get their ideas. I get most of mine from the life I’ve led and people I’ve known  . . things I’ve observed . . .

This morning, while perusing an old copy of Poets & Writers magazine, I read an article about using a picture to inspire a story. That’s the “what if’s” and “I wonder’s” that pop into your mind when you stop to watch something and give it a little extra thought.

David Rowell wrote the article I read. He described it as “writing inspired by photographs”. (I have a painted picture of two cats that I’ve often looked at and wondered if they were really someone’s cats that were painted or how they interacted with each other and their environment, etc . . . so I suppose you could also use a painting or a drawn picture to inspire your muse as well as a photograph.)

David Rowell also talked about a feature he had created in a magazine, DoubleTake, that he edited. The feature was called Viewfinder and he would send photographs to writers and ask for a thousand-word story about them.

(His complete article was in the Jan./Feb. 2012 PW.ORG Magazine.)

I wondered where that phrase “a picture is worth a thousand words” originated and found the following online:

“Who coined a picture is worth a thousand words?
This saying was invented by an advertising executive, Fred R. Barnard. To promote his agency’s ads he took out an ad in Printer’s Ink in 1921 with the headline “One Look Is Worth a Thousand Words” and attributed it to an ancient Japanese philosopher.”
Can you write a thousand words about a picture/photograph? Can a photo inspire a poem? It’s something to think about.
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