People Watching #5

Welcome back to my blog! Time to resume our Journey To Imagination after taking a break. I hope the past few weeks offered plenty of highlights, holiday fun, and creative outlets.

Have you done any people watching lately? The first time we looked at Edward Hopper’s Nighthawks. Then we examined a 1930s Charles Walton photograph. After that, we speculated about the dynamics of two girls and a guy at the dinner table. Then we viewed the bicyclist in a race.

I loved reading your comments—the ideas evoked by those pictures. The backgrounds, personalities, and situations of each person. Feel free to go back to any one of them and add your own speculations.

Aside from knowing that a picture is worth 1000 words, a picture evokes 1000 stories. If I showed a picture to a dozen students and told them to write a story based on it, I got a dozen unique and varied responses.

If I did this with 1000 students, guaranteed, they’d each have a different combination of character interactions, dialogs, motives, and plots.

As I’ve said before, I revel in this creative diversity. We each inherently have this innovative ability because we’re made in God’s image. See “Chickens at the State Fair.”

Whether you’re a story writer or not, your own creativity can shine with a little people watching.

This time, we’ll take a look at another picture by photographer and past blog guest, Elmer Sparks.

What story is being suggested?

Take a few minutes to immerse yourself in this picture. Then think about these questions. There are no right or wrong answers! You’re calling the shots.

If you happen to know these people, pretend you don’t!

Answer these for all three people or for just one.

•  Who are these people?
•  Are they all from one family? Or are they neighbors?
•  What are their names?
•  Why are they out in the snow at this moment?
•  What are they looking at and/or anticipating?
•  What is their mood? (Individually or collectively)
•  How long have they been outside?
•  How long will they continue to be out?
•  Do they live nearby or are they visiting the area?
•  Are they often outside in winter or is this a rare occasion?
•  What are their attitudes about being out in the snow in general?
•  What is the setting (approximate time, date, and place)?
•  What is the tone/mood/atmosphere of this particular day?
•  What has led up to this moment? What events took place earlier on this day?
•  Does one person seem to stand out as the “main character”?
•  What is his/her personality?
•  What are his/her key character traits?
•  What are the relationship dynamics among them?
•  What are each of them thinking?
•  What is a typical day like for them? (Or for one of them)
•  What do they aspire to?
•  Where do they wish they were instead?
•  What is the title of this story?

So many story possibilities! All in one picture.

So . . . how would YOU answer some of the questions above about this picture? What story do you see unfolding? And whose story is it?

I welcome your comments below!

Ever musing,


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