31 Days: Photo Write Prompt Comp

Merchant's Arch - Dublin Copyright ©  John Ivory: All rights reserved

Merchant’s Arch – Dublin Copyright © John Ivory: All rights reserved

This series of articles running through January will explore ways of keeping our head above water in physical, mental, emotional and creative areas. There will be creative challenges, competitions and giveaways. For the full background see here.

This weeks writing challenge is to write a short fiction, poem, character sketch or dialogue exchange based on this wonderful photograph by John Ivory. Keep it short – around 200 words or less. You can post it here in the comments for feedback or keep it to yourself. Jot ideas in a notebook, make mind maps or write it fast and furious – see how different methods work for you. Come back and share the piece or the process with us.

I have spare copies of the fantastic flash fiction anthology Jawbreakers and the Poetry Against Cancer book which I’ll give as prizes. Comp open until Sunday but the main point is participation and exploring methods.

UPDATE: I’m leaving this open until Wednesday – so keep thinking!

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13 comments

  1. As someone too exhausted this morning to try, and about to run out the door to the hospital for more tests, I just wanted to say I think this is a neat idea. Hope you get fun replies, Alison!

  2. Cusp

    He hung back at the entrance to the alley. It had stopped raining, the street lights and the yellow glow escaping from the pub doorways glittered ahead. The Guinness sign suspended above his head heralded a new grown-up world.

    In daylight it was stripped bare of night’s mystery, pale and dirty and giving off the stale breath of another heavy night. His mother would drag him past the entry as if that would avoid infection.

    He’d pleaded with his brother to take him, and they’d had to lie about going to the pictures, but the lie had suited both of them.

    Now Gerry was talking to some guy, something was changing hands. He didn’t want to get mixed up in his brother’s secrets and fear curdled the excitement in the hollow of his stomach. If he didn’t move soon all could be lost.

    Different rhythms were pulsing towards him and snatches of music, voices, laughter, as doors opened and closed. Wanting this moment, this magic, for himself, he started to walk, head down, past his brother.

    “Oi Robert, where y’goin?”

    Running now, but glancing back, round the corner he collided with the girl stepping on to the pavement.

    “I thought you’d never get here”, Janey’s soft warm hand took his and pulled him through the door, “Come on.”

  3. Arch Eye

    I bear witness to famine, to insurrection, to war
    To gunboats on the river, to smoke blown across tip tops
    To the terrified masses who ran through me
    I shelter the homeless, the drunk, the junkie
    I hide the pedlars of death; I’m the pick-pockets aid,
    I dull the glint of the switchblade.

    My floor is the canvas of the street artist
    My ceiling the amphitheatre of the busker
    My steps the rendezvous of sweethearts
    My walls the boundaries of a teenage boudoir
    So paint, play and pant harder and longer
    For I am the viaduct to art, to music, to lover.

    I am the headstone over the ancients
    Marking the spot of betrayal of artefact
    Atlantis of flint, tankard, sword and axe
    Home of informer, conspirator, warriors and Jacks
    When the city sleeps they visit me through cracks
    Tormented spirits, victims of inescapable vile acts

    But by day I am a river of opposite currents again
    A torrent of vanity, of vice, of virtue
    Come join the flow, jump in, whirl and spin
    Through the Arch Eye of Dublin.

      1. Many thanks Alison for taking the time again to provide feedback. Would love a copy of Jawbreakers if possible. Can send a postal order for postage if needs be (if not in ebook form).

  4. The Wedding Ring

    It was all she had left to give – literally. John had taken everything from her now, even her optimism.

    She stood alone and removed the precious band; the last possession from twenty five years of tranquil marriage. Hastily she caressed the blemished ring one last time, its beauty traded for a small destructive package of addictive highs. John had promised this would be the last time, but Marie could no longer count the times his pleading eyes had lied to her.

    In her childhood the curiously shaped doorways had hidden fantastical, imagined adventures. The archways were mesmerising, mysterious, magical. Now hip shops and exuberant pubs replaced familiarity as she undertook this shameful act to save her son from himself one last time. She hoped her husband, dead five years next month, would understand the sordid desecration of their symbol of happiness.

    She locked eyes with the dealer. In that moment she knew. His eyes had the same quality as John’s; hateful emptiness. Quietly replacing her ring she felt comfort. Marie could hear her childish laughter echo through time rebounding off the arches; she remembered she too deserved happiness.

    Her love for John had not diminished; but her pity had. It was his decision.

      1. Thanks Alison, I appreciate your positive comments. I have really enjoyed your posts on Head Above Water this month as a fellow Mum of four who is trying to find the time and energy to write 🙂

      2. Fantastic Sarah and I’m even more delighted since we share a similar situation. Very best wishes on your writing.

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