So not only did you teach me about writing memoir, you also taught me about reading and thinking about how others write memoir. Thank you so much! Rebecca
Showing posts with label photographs. Show all posts
Showing posts with label photographs. Show all posts

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Photographs - wonderful prompts for writing

Helen Beall
 The above photograph was taken on a trip from California to Georgia in the early sixties. The woman in the picture is Helen  Beall, mother of the man I would later marry. Several things about this photo provoke memories for stories. She had flown out to San francisco where her son had been living. He was about 25 at the time. When she and Barry decided to come back to Georgia, they climbed into his little MG.  The two of them rode across country in the winter time in a two-seater convertible in which the heater quit working. Somewhere in Texas they encountered a blizzard. I can go on and write the entire story, but I won't do that here.

Barry Beall at my parent's home in Georgia
I was not a fan of the tiny sports car, but Barry loved it. 

Often in my classes I will ask my students to make a list of all the cars they have owned. Our automobiles are like family, close friends, and we often name them. A car is such a personal attachment they live on in our memories long after they are gone. 

The photos above bring to mind a significant time in my life. Barry, my husband, loved convertibles and he loved small sports cars like this Austin Healey. Before we met, he and I had just bought new cars. The white Oldsmobile Cutlass convertible I bought with my own money. As a first year teacher, I splurged and purchased the car of my dreams, a car no one ever thought I would drive. 

When it became obvious we could not afford two car payments, he traded down to the used Austin Healey. I don't think he felt a loss because he still turned heads when he passed, and he loved the thrill of shifting  gears and speeding down country roads. 

Anytime I feel I need to motivate myself to write, I only have to look through my old photograph albums. They hold the key to hundreds, maybe thousands, of stories and poems. 

Have you used pictures to jump-start your writing?