Friday, January 22, 2010

Story Prompt

By Judith A. Ross for Talking Writing

Here we are in Barcelona. The photo is by Akos Szilvasi, a photographer who lives and works in Cambridge, Mass. Akos was born in Hungary and has also lived in Germany. (You can enlarge the photo by clicking on the image above.)

A U.S. resident for twenty years, he is still struggling to figure us out. For example, why all the fuss about health care -- isn't that a human right?

But let's forget politics for a moment and enjoy the street scene above. Who are these people? Where are they going? What are they thinking?

Okay, all of you fiction writers out there, tell us a story!


  1. I believe the elderly couple is thinking "Oh my God! That bike will hit us!"

  2. Elderly couple:

    He thinks: That could have been us in '45. We had so much to celebrate. We had nothing, but the air sparkled. You could smell lavender in the markets, the sweet stink of shrimp.

    She thinks: I wish we could have been like that. I wish...

    The motorbike couple swerves around them effortlessly, giving what seems to be just another old gray lady and dude no thought...

  3. I'm still waiting for an Adrian Grenier look alike to sweep me off my feet and pedal me around Barcelona on his bicycle.

  4. This is an excellent photograph.

    The young girl puts down her foot to stop the bike. She recognizes the elderly couple as her grandparents who stayed in Spain many years ago.

    The story goes on from there . . .

  5. Normally, Lorenzo on a bike was an unstoppable force, but the sight of the peculiar couple made him brake so hard he almost ejected Katrina, who was perched in front of him. It wasn’t their mild expressions or sensible clothing that threw him. It was the way they appeared in his path out of nowhere, preternaturally still and sharp-edged, almost glowing.

    Then they disappeared just as suddenly, leaving Lorenzo sputtering to explain his actions to the almost-catapulted Katrina. Shaken but resilient, he dismissed the elderly pair from his mind – until the next time they appeared, floating in mid-air, blocking his hang-glider’s trajectory.

    They rose to let him pass, like lifted puppets, and he whistled past them. He almost blew his landing, squinting up at the blinding, now-empty sky...

  6. Wow, this photo touched many readers. I actually saw something similar in it when I took it. The fuzzy is obviously a computer-made "motion blur". As I explained to Judith: my photos are not documentary images so I can afford to emphasize what I want to tell any way I choose. I needed the important people to be separated from the crowd. That's why the motion blur. This image Judith picked it from a small series. The rest is here:

    phone 1 617 575 9020


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