Writing from a Picture - Black and White - Post Book Exercises - Day 3

This may be the last “writing from a picture” exercise before we move on to something different. I am not saying what this picture is in order to let your mind wander and not be influenced by anything. Look at the picture and use your sensory language to build something. I figured the black and white allows maximum flexibility. You can keep it monochrome, or you can decide what colors to use.


You have complete free reign on rhyme, rhythm, length, whatever. Just try to keep it in “lines” that you could see putting in a song. Good luck!

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On the air, there’s a bell
Ringing out above
Dying goldfish, cotton candy, and rain
The barker shouts “last call, get out”
Decay whips in the wind
It’s all paused except the midway games

Gentle brown hair over eyes a little scared
She thinks I’ve been robbed
I keep my place a wreck, it looks the same
Squeeze your bear, I’ll un-tump the chair
And maybe turn on the heat
Out there the noise is stalled, except for the midway games

Please don’t cry, here’s a towel to dry
I’ll grab us a bite
Maybe come spring you can help me paint
Let’s talk about mom, where she came from
And who we hoped you’ll be
The wheel will roll again, and we’ll go back to the midway games

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My old childhood apartment
I can still taste the springtime air
The morning sun pouring in like honey
The laughter flooding in from the fair

The world’s been worn and weathered
Through all the time since spilt
The piercing yell of silence
As the Ferris wheel stands still.

The walls have flaked and crumbled
Windows have shattered and gone
The winter wind begins to whisper
Those old wistful songs.

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I like the hope you’ve weaved into this with “the wheel will roll again”, the ambition to build back from the rubble, to “un-tump” the chair is really nice, even if this hope is ultimately futile. The imagery of fair fair-ground is lovely in verse 1, “dying goldfish” gives a particularly visceral sense of what is to come. Well done!

The nostalgic beginning is really neat. Seeing it all from remembering a child’s perspective. Nice sensory language covering a wide array of senses. The last two lines of the second stanza are really awesome. The juxtaposition of piercing yell and silence, and the Ferris Wheel (kind of fun in motion) standing still. I love how at the end you bring us out of the nostalgia (spring) into the present (winter), showing that the child has been hardened with time, but still searches for beauty hearing the old songs on the wind. Really well done!

the rose coloured glasses have faded
leaving all memories black and blue
the sound of late rent and prolonged argument
lose my senses in the neon landscape view

carnival rides and a full laughing choir
a far cry from the circus at home
dreams of running away leaving family behind
and living fearlessly and on my own

RUSTY! good grief I will never let myself go so long without doing an exercise again!

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Welcome back Hugh! I know what you mean that sometimes when you try to get back into writing you feel you have lost all your ability with words - but it doesn’t read that way at all! There is a lovely use of colour in there, and I like the fragments you have introduced to set the context, such as the sound of an angry landlord. I love what you have done in paragraph 2 in communicating this feeling of wanting to escape from the “circus at home” and live fearlessly. That final line reminds me of that great film ‘Into the Wild’. Anyway, well done and a delight to read your words again!

The color usage is amazing. Going from rose colored glasses to bruised memories! You can really feel the pressure building and yearning for escape. I agree with Jamie, this doesn’t read like you’re rusty at all!