I’ve never given a prompt before, and I’ve never even taken anyone up on one, they’ve always felt weird, but in the spirit of creative innovation, I will from time to time give out a picture prompt. If you look up, I have provided a visual location for an event to take place. The streets are empty. It’s a sunny day, and the point of focus is the house with the archway of flowers over the door.
To test this out, I will respond to my own prompt. Here goes:
She moved forward with an economy of movement, with minimal swinging of arms, or jutting of elbows. She walked the way a turtle swims, with inborn naturalness and casual elan. She walked until she stopped, quickly and abruptly, in the precise center of the block, a movement that while sudden, was also completed smoothly and with consent. Looking out in front of her, she arced her eyes over the entire length of the street. There were no cars, no other people. Instead, there was a pervading sense of waiting, for someone who had missed his mark, who should have been here. Waiting for her.
From the corner of her eye, she could see a flood of crimson blossoms arching over a doorway. They waved at her like hands, fluttering in the wind. Above the door, reflecting the sun, was the closed glass of a window. Behind the glass, she was sure, someone was watching. Attractive women could always tell when they were being watched. Over time, they learned their better angles. She knew that when she tilted her head back to turn, the sunlight would split across her face, haloing her features. He should have come out then; he should have already been there. The door was only steps away from where she stood. But the door remained closed. No one came out to greet her.
Of course, there were options. She could knock on the door. She could be polite or persuasive, but that went against one of her key guiding principles: never to reward cowardice. She waited a beat longer, and when the door remained closed, she adjusted her handbag over her shoulder and walked on.
Self-critique: This was self-indulgent and possibly made no sense. It’s a jumble of images and descriptions with very little editing. I consider this part of a creative burst (or diarrhea or explosion) that I think is necessary to the act of creating. You have to give yourself the freedom to look bad.
This excerpt is also what I would consider a layer. French actress Juliette Binoche once described good acting as being like an onion – there are many layers to a performance. In that same sense, this scene is one layer in a larger piece that I’ve been constructing inside my head recently, and I will lay another perspective on top of it later, and then I will keep going, layering away until I have something substantial.