Image 14 (a writing prompt)

I Googled “writing prompts” and found this page, Creative Writing Prompts, and I used this prompt:

“..Take out those dusty photo albums. Pick out photo #14…Look at the photo for 2-3 minutes. Then for 10 minutes, write all the feelings that photograph made you feel.

So I went to my Flickr account and picked a random page. I counted to the 14th image and decided “I don’t wanna do that one.” I found another number 14 on a different page and said “I don’t want to write about my cats, it’ll make me look like a cat lady“. After two more tries, I found a photo I could live with.

This one:

Looking east on Kirkwood Ave.

I called it “Looking east on Kirkwood Ave.”, because that’s what the picture depicts.

Here goes the writing!

I was on the Kirkwood sidewalk between Grant and Dunn when I took this picture. According to the date/time stamp, which I forgot to turn off, it was June 17, 2007. It looks like it was a beautiful blue-skied day, and I’m thinking I enjoyed being out in it. It was probably a Saturday. I’m sure I was alone. In 2007 I probably wasn’t dating anyone, and I was a lonely girl.

As I recall, I was taking pictures of Bloomington to show my Dad, hoping to convince him to move here. Or maybe not. Mom passed away in 2006 and Dad was in Antioch taking care of my grandmother (Mom’s mom). I don’t think I could have expected him to move with Gang Gang (my grandmother) in tow. She was 99 at the time.

This photo isn’t what you’d call a great composition. The focus is a trash can. Further down the sidewalk you can see a man. He’s wearing boots and a backpack. Here’s a closer shot of this guy which I think makes a slightly better picture. Turns out there’s a child in backpack.

Man with child and boots walking east on Kirkwood.

I wonder what I did when I went home that day. Weekends have traditionally been difficult for me. When I was alone I felt really alone. During the work week there were people to interact with, but on weekends I was on my own. I did have dance rehearsal Saturday mornings, which gave me a place to be, a place to belong, people with whom to share my time.

I really should walk around a take pictures more often. I once walked around downtown Champaign with my camera (this was when I was printing pictures in my bathroom/darkroom). I remember being on Neil Street in front of the thrift store where I got my dark-orange ottoman. A black man, who I think was homeless asked me “Are you a boy or a girl?” I asked him “What do you think?” I don’t remember if he responded to the question. This incident rattled me, mainly because I don’t like being approached by strange homeless men in the street. I don’t think I looked like a boy. There are few times in life when I have been mistaken for a boy. Maybe only once in a store when I was 7 or 8 and wearing a cowboy hat. I think we were on vacation, stopping somewhere on the way to Ohio. The person couldn’t see my hair so I can forgive the mistake, but for the guy in Champaign there was no excuse.

I’ve been telling myself that I have no stories to tell, but I just found two little stories to write about. I guess writing prompts really do work.

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