Years ago, I had a started a series called “Pictures & Prose“. I never got it off the ground because I tend to start things and not finish. (Remember how we did the Procrastination to Progress Challenge in October to fix this bad habit?). Two posts and that was all you ever saw of the series.
To sharpen my writing skills, I began writing in my journal more last year and sharing creative writing entries with myself. I LOVE to sit with a pen and feel the story flow through me. This year, I am making myself type out some of the writing I usually do in notebooks. To start, I’d like to finally launch this series and do it monthly.
In this series, I stare at a picture for a few minutes – usually for five minutes before writing. I then set a timer and give myself 15 minutes to write whatever comes to mind, regardless of how choppy, riddled with typos, or terrible it may be. I don’t worry about how it sounds, how good it is, or if it even is something anyone else will like. I just write what comes to mind and flow with it. Sometimes they will be good and give way to future stories or poems. Other times, they will stay right here and never leave this series. The pictures come from friends, IG accounts I follow, or pictures I’ve taken throughout the years that I find while looking for other things.
The one rule I always stick to: There is no editing! All typos are free and come as a side dish with the process. Sometimes I may go a little over 15 minutes if the story is flowing and I have time. Other times, I may stop short if I hit a wall and feel done. But I never edit. It defies the process, as my natural tendency when writing is to edit as I go. The creative writing process and how I will get better as a writer is to let myself flow freely, the same way I coach my clients to do when they are learning their voices for their businesses and writing styles.
So, without any additional blabbering from me. Let’s dive into the new series!
Today’s picture comes from an Instagram account I found via a friend of a friend. Per Gunnar created this artwork using pictures from Unsplash and an app called Photoleap by LightTricks. I have the paid version of this app and can’t do ANYTHING like this, so I am enamored with it and haven’t been able to get this picture out of my mind since seeing it a few weeks back. There is something he said to me with his eyes… well, you’ll read about it below as you see the results of my Pictures & Prose freewriting session.
If it looks familiar to you but you don’t follow the artist on IG, it could be because I used this picture as the bonus Picture Prompt in this week’s Weekly Journal Prompts so I would make myself sit down for 15 uninterrupted minutes and finally type my thoughts here.
I am finally getting out. Being released. But I feel numb. I have sat in this prison for so long that I am not sure how to move forward. It’s been more than a decade since I first heard the cell door close behind me. Every day since, I’ve noticed how the guards have changed, my body has morphed from child to man, the people around me have aged, but I still feel like a child longing for the right type of affection. The right kind of love. The right kind of…
It’s useless. That’s how I honestly feel. But if say that aloud, they may not let me out. They may say that I am the same and haven’t changed. If I speak how I am feeling inside about never receiving the kind of love I longed for and too much of that which hurt me, they could say that I am likely to offend again.
But I won’t.
I never meant to hurt anyone. I never meant to cause anyone pain like I’d felt for so long. I just wanted the abuse to stop. I wanted the agony of knowing that I couldn’t say anything without ruining other people’s lives to stop playing so loudly across my body and within my head. I wanted out of the situation and did what I knew I could do to make it better.
And this is where it got me.
I’ve read the papers and heard the whispers, even in this place. Why didn’t they say something sooner? Why wait so long? It’s not an unrealistic question, but it is an ignorant question that the people they are asking can’t answer. People who haven’t experienced pain cannot speak up about why those who have wait to talk about it. People who haven’t had to keep secrets cannot speak to why others do. It’s like asking someone who has never murdered anyone what it feels like to kill someone. How would they know?
Except in this kind of abuse, the people who do the killing may as well have murdered their victims. Do you see how life is gone from my eyes? I’m a dark void because I haven’t felt anything since I was 10 years old. I carried a secret with me for so long and accepted the guilt of my actions because I would rather do that than let my family know what happened to me. To feel my mother’s guilt for not protecting me was something I never wanted. To hear anyone blame her for working too much or not paying enough attention to me would put the blame on the wrong person. But because of all the secrets and all the pain, I finally became numb to everything.
How will I operate in the world beyond these chains?
How will I interface with men and women who will only see my ink and scars and judge me for my actions?
I have asked myself this each evening since I learned I was being released due to new evidence that someone brought forward. I get out in three days and I don’t know how I am going to function.
I have written down the places I’d like to go, the people I’d like to see. But I don’t know if they want to see me. I don’t know if the towns will know who I am. I don’t want to be the ex-convict or to be known for my story. My past. I want to make a new life for myself free from the stories posted in the paper, free from people judging my actions not knowing the full story.
I know I’m talking to you like you’re a journal entry, but you did ask me how I’m feeling and this is what therapy is for right? To share how I’m feeling and let you guide me toward the right path for getting closer to healing? Well guide me, cause I’m feeling quite lost right now and I’m not sure how I am going to handle myself in three days when the whole world becomes my playground and I’m still walking around thinking I’m young enough to enjoy it.
So tell me, Doc… how do I heal while I have the whole world telling me who I am?
As I was reading back what I wrote, I realized that this could be a follow up story for the main male character in The Execution that Gave Life, a prompt response I did for The 3 AM Epiphany many years back.
Join me this year. If you like the picture and have some thoughts of your own, start a new post, set a timer, and write away. When done, backlink to this post so I can support your writing. OR, share your own picture and tag me to see if I have some thoughts to share. I’d love to build my creative writing community and skills this year.
WOW, Shell!!! This is 5-Star, quietly Raw and GOOD!!!!!
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Thanks so much, Zelda. I am going to explore it a bit more… he is so easy to write for that I feel like I can do more with him if given time. I have to make time for a weekend getaway to crawl inside his mind some more…and now I have this visual to work with!!
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Go for it–this piece you’re working on is truly inspired!!
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