....said William Carlos Williams, he of the wheelbarrow and chickens and plums and gulls. Objects and images of them can be incredibly evocative as writing prompts. Neruda wrote a whole collection of odes to common things. My favorites tend to be the ones written to ordinary, overlooked, or even hard to love things.
Photographs are also good sources of inspiration. I don't have a smartphone, more for frugality than any other reason. I do, though, understand the appeal of Instagram and documenting one's world visually, making a diary of the eye.
So here are some prompts around objects. After that, some images from my collection, my Slowgrams.
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Title and notes/bullet points from a presentation at a conference of mythical creatures.
An important speech. The speaker stubs their toe intensely right before.
Combine an untimely ailment or bodily function with a momentous occasion.
The architectural firm that designs snowflakes has closed.
You wake up in a painting.
Do you have a landscape/place that can be summoned with a sound or scent? Write us there.
Write about your most worn pair of shoes.
At the end of Naomi Shabib Nye’s “The Only Word a Tree Knows” she says “I was born to answer a tree?” What about you? Answer it.
Take the books by your bed or where you read. Pick, at random, a line from each. Use these to jump-start a poem.
A lock of hair. Is it a trophy? A curse? A love spell? Whose?
Job interview, something embarrassing falls out of your purse/bag/pocket.
Your loved one leaves you something to remember them by but it is not at all charming, or sweet, or sentimental.
The possession you'd protect from a house fire that would be hard for others to value.
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Back home, the name of a road that crosses a railroad track. Here, a place to keep my verbal play-pretties and whatnot.