Images and words




I have recently discovered a Reddit corner that presents would-be writers, as well as established ones, presumably, with a 'wordy bait', a paragraph to fire up their imagination and get them down to writing. Having lived most of my life among words and through words, I thought I should do it too. Then I changed my mind.

We no longer live in the traditional story-telling set-up. The world comes to us (and at us) mostly through the eyes, although ears are still important. The art of podcasting is now being taught, in exchange for a fee, and audio books are a good companion during hours of chores or lonely driving.

Both audiobooks and podcasts are demanding mistresses, they require exclusivity and no competing sources of interest, like other noises or images.
Sharing headphones is such a brief teenage act. Anyone above the age of 16 would not be seen dead pushing an earbud that carries someone else's genetic traces... and earwax.

An image, on the other hand, is instant gratification. It does not take 15 minutes of focus to follow up an idea to its conclusion. It does not contain words that need a dictionary - an online one of course.
And it can be enjoyed or rejected anywhere and any time.

An image is a sliver of the outer world, forever captured like an jurassic insect in the amber of the camera.
Even the moving image, video or film, is a series of frames, readily deconstructed. It is true that once Photoshop and any other image processing technique have started being used, an image can become a ghost of its old self.  On Facebook or Instagram, a much better-looking ghost, but that's another story.

An image comes into existence as pure as any new creation, the very instant we look at something. Then we decide to keep it, taking a photo as it is, or alter it. In the big brain of the universe, where, I like to think, everything is recorded forever, there is always a version of the original.

Writing using first images as inspiration is almost impossible. Worth trying though. Somehow, I think it is a secret source of youthfulness. No dross acquired through the mere act of living and interacting with other lives. No oxidative stress :).  Just our innocent eyes and a reasonable amount of visual memory.


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