Did you ever do that thing at school where you were given a picture of something completely random and asked to write a story about it?
I have an awful memory generally, but I remember vividly being about eight years old and made to do this. The teacher had a pack of postcards and held each one up in turn. If you liked the look of it you could put your hand up. I waited and waited, not wanting to commit myself to anything too early, but before I knew it the pack was finished and I ended up with a picture of a sofa on a rubbish dump.
Not the most inspiring of images.
I was reminded of this today when I saw this picture on Unsplash. It’s basically the opposite of a sofa on a rubbish dump:
It made me want to immediately sit down and write about it because it made me FEEL so much. (The sofa on the rubbish dump did not do this. I remember much sighing and chewing of my pencil.)
Smells came into my head first – the salty tang of the sea, wafts of damp wood from the boards under my feet. And then the sounds – the pulse of the water, the crash as it breaks against the deck, and that lone seagull, calling out as it circles the surf.
Can you feel yourself there? Are you standing on the edge of the picture? Can you feel the spray cold on your face?
It’s wonderful isn’t it?
What I especially love is that everyone’s imagining of this photo will be slightly different. We might all be there, gazing out to sea, but our eyes and ears will be drawn to different things. We will feel it in different ways.
It’s like life and it’s what makes things so interesting – millions and millions of us having the same experiences but in very different ways.