Most things we write come out of a moment of enthusiasm

Dear Photograph

Today’s post (has been a few days, sorry) is based on a writing exercise we did in Life Writing class today. The idea was to think of an important photograph (for you) and write a letter to it. Here is mine, in its mostly unedited form.


Dear photo,

You have always been near me despite the fact I’ve lost count how many times I have packed you into a box and moved to the new house I was staying in. Today you sit on my bookshelf in the loungeroom. You show the smiling face of my mother when she was 14 years old. She looks 21.

I can reconstruct a story of this young woman based on the stories I have been told, but then we have all sorts of ethical and authorial questions to contend with. The young woman does not know when she will have children, or who they might turn out to be. She does not yet run a pizza place, or own a night club. She does not have sixteen chickens, three turkies or two ducks. Not yet anyway.

I would like to add, dear photo, that I think you might be lying with that huge grin and anticipating eyes. I want to believe that she is a young girl that has hope and is determined and happy. The girl in the photo ran away from home when she was eight. The girl in the photo, I keep calling her that. She is my mother. She is my best friend who gives me appropriate motherly advice when I ask her for it. For some reason she asks me for advice too.

Dear photo, you capture a moment but tell me nothing about it, give nothing away!

My mother. I have no idea why she was smiling in that moment. It doesn’t matter, but maybe it should.




Your turn, today’s writing exercise! Write a letter to this photo 🙂


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This entry was posted on March 19, 2012 by in Life, People, Writing and tagged , , , , .
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