Occasionally, when I write with friends we’ll use photographs as a prompt. This is a great exercise for character development, and also because we are such visual creatures, it can stimulate all sorts of insightful, creative writing. Recently, I ordered the chap book called Nostalgia: For Things that Never Change by Brooklyn based writer Gus Iversen.

(Find his work at http://www.iloanbooks.com/)

Gus utilizes “found photos” and creates short sketches (flash fiction) for each separate photo/page. He uses time (some pieces are set in 1744, or 1361) in a seemingly random fashion, and yet is it? How does time or a date inform our conscious life? Highly creative and thought provoking. Well done, Gus!

Lately I have been exploring more short, short pieces. So, sometimes, within our ‘ten minute per prompt’ limit, I have time to blast off one, two, or even three different pieces. That is what happened with these two fictional sketches from a photograph in New Yorker magazine, April 19:

Terminal: Take One

The attic stored her trunk,with endless photographs, every job she’d shot since the early 80s, each publication catelogued.

“I want to leave this all to you,” she said. The sun streamed onto her head, lighting it like a Mexican postcard of Christ.

One glance and you’d never know it was terminal.

Terminal: Take Two

“We could shoot you like this,” she said, pointing to the Balanchine book. Photos from my younger days. Leaping. Twirling. Defecting.

It seemed a mirage now.

“Anything but the sausage,” I said.

I dodged as she snorted, her nose flew across the room in a flourish.


I also wanted to mention that gracious editor Joseph Quintela selected “Gone Before Dawn” for his Issue #20, posted 4/25 at Short, Fast, and Deadly. (http://www.shortfastanddeadly.com/) Thanks, again, to Joseph and to those editors who support writers on the new frontier. (He is also a grand writer, too).

Enjoy the season! Get outdoors at least once (and no- the walk from car to building does not count!) per day. Focus on gratitude. Count your blessings. And, oh yeah: thanks for reading.


About Robert Vaughan

Originally from NY, Robert leads week long National writing retreats at sites like Mabel Dodge Luhan House, Synergia Ranch, and EarthRise IONS. His poems and fiction are published in over 500 print and online magazines, such as Necessary Fiction, BlazeVOX, Los Angeles Weekly, Literary Orphans and Smokelong Quarterly. He is Editor-in-Chief at (b)OINK magazine and leads round- tables for Redoak Writing in Milwaukee. He is six times a Pushcart Prize Nominee and his fiction and poetry have won awards, including a Micro-Fiction runner-up (2012) and twice a finalist in the Gertrude Stein Fiction Award (2013-14). His books are: Microtones (Cervena Barva Press); Diptychs + Triptychs + Lipsticks + Dipshits (Deadly Chaps); Addicts & Basements (Civil Coping Mechanisms); RIFT, co-authored with Kathy Fish (Unknown Press), and FUNHOUSE (Unknown Press).
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8 Responses to Terminal

  1. Don says:

    Congrats on your “Gone Before Dawn” piece. I like that very much. Also, the take on two different perspectives of the same photo prompt is cool. You inspire me to look at my art in fresh, new ways. So, thanks for that. And I am getting out on my bike today!

  2. Shari says:

    I count you as one of my blessings! Love your posts, so thrilled that your work is getting the attention it deserves, and your reading audience is expanding. Keep submitting, Robert! And enjoy this gorgeous day!

  3. Andrea says:

    Terminal velocity

  4. Terri says:

    Terminal angst. Love it!

  5. Benny G says:

    Wowsah- great style and congrats on your recent publication. Kudos, Robert.

  6. Dez says:

    Keep up the great work! Always look forward to your new posts. And thanks for giving us the link to Short, Fast, and Deadly. A great online zine, obviously, if they support your work.

  7. Dr. Crunk says:

    Your endless enthusiasm for embracing new media is refreshing, eye-opening and will likely prove to bring you ongoing literary success. The difficult task of distillation is brought to an art form in your work.

  8. brooks says:

    you rock robert!

    thank you for transporting me into a different world for moments at a time!

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