Thursday, October 30, 2008

A Picture's Worth

*This is post 200 for Something She Wrote*
Thank you for your readership!



What do you see in this picture?


Sure, its outward appearance is overwhelming. It stirs, if I'm to be honest, a little bit of pity and a whole lot of sorrow in me.

But you know what else I see?

I see, perhaps, a young boy who lives inside. And his circumstance does not define his potential. He is one who, despite the start he's been given, will persevere. He'll understand what hard work and determination mean. He'll learn to respect others and their situations, he'll seek humility, and he'll strive to make his dreams happen. He'll succeed.

He'll break the cycle.

Can you take a harrowing picture and make it, with mere words, into something uplifting? Consider it a challenge. If you accept, post a picture and your vision on your own blog, and let me know you've done so.

PS. I still have half-dozen or so prompts I've not used. If no one cares either way, I'll only do them if/when a stirring comes. But if you were particularly fond of yours and would really like to see me write a piece of flash fiction with it, let me know in today's comments. Thanks!

17 comments:

Terri Tiffany said...

My first reaction to the picture was I saw possibilities. We once bought an old home like that and worked an entire summer gutting it and fixing it up to finally sell it and pay our own home off so we could move to Fla!

I love seeing potential in not only old homes but in situations God gives us everyday.

Angie Ledbetter said...

Nice picture. Looks a lot like the houses from the neighborhood where I grew up. My first thought on studying it? Potential!

And congrats on your milestone post!!!

Rachel Burton said...

I'm in the "potential" camp with Terri and Angie. I thought it could be a cute house with some TLC! But I like your vision of turning the gloomy into the uplifting. I'll have to look through my photos. And congrats on 200!

Turkey Lurkey said...

I didn't notice the house at first. I was studying that odd object in the yard. It looked like someone was petrified and bent over. Hmm.... maybe the sun came up too soon caught a zombie by surprise, turning him into stone. That would make quite a lawn ornament.

Barbara said...

My first reaction to the picture was, what is on the inside? I've learned that we can "never judge a book (or house) by it's cover" so to speak.

Janna Qualman said...

Terri - Possibility AND potential? Very nice!

Angie - Thanks!

Rachel - I bet you and Terri are right, that could be a quaint little house with some help. Thanks!

Turk - ROFL! It does look like a zombie caught by surprise. :P I had the same thought, though, seeing the picture on this smaller scale. Kinda 'pooky.

Janna Qualman said...

Barbara, that's good. You make me wonder the same. Who's to know, right?

Ang said...

I thought the same thing about the weird looking object in the yard...but when first seeing the complete picture I saw "hope." I love to go through neighborhoods each year and see how they change or not. How the houses evolve, how the people inside the houses have evolved. Do the people "settle" or do they have "hope"? I often wonder what goes on inside the houses I pass.

Janna Qualman said...

Our first mention of hope! I like it, Ang. Thanks. :)

Melanie Avila said...

I thought that was going to be the before picture of your house! So I saw lots of potential. :)

You gave me an idea - there are a lot of houses around here that are similar to what Ibis says he was born in and I've been tempted to take a picture. They are basically one or two rooms, wooden slats held together with mud, dirt floor and tin roof. When I think of how far he's come I'M inspired.

Joanne said...

My first reaction to this picture was a question, a little backstory. I wondered what circumstances and life choices led to this disrepair. I'd be curious about the history of its decline.

K.S. Clay said...

I guess it's where you're coming from that determines what you see. I was with the crowd that wondered what the object in the yard was. As for the house itself, it looks like there's a ladder there so I thought maybe someone was doing some work on it. Thus I'm in the potential camp. I was actually surprised that you said "pity" and "sorrow" because I didn't feel that at all. The house, at least from what I saw, doesn't look that bad and in fact looks better already than some of the houses I saw growing up. To me that's just an average house that with a little work might be a nice one.

Janna Qualman said...

A good example of potential, Melanie!

Joanne - I'm the same way. It goes in the same vein as my people-watching fascination; I'd love to hear what's behind the outward appearance.

K.S. - Who knew a tree stump (or whatever it is) would get so much attention? I should clarify my pity and sorrow weren't meant as judgment for whomever may live in the house, but rather the idea that some people have seemingly endless wealth, where others' lots in life are broken-down and ramshackle houses. You can't quite see all the rundown aspects of this particular house with the size it appears on the post. And I saw this house in person; that affected my view of it, too.

thedomesticfringe said...

Congrats on post 200!

Pink Ink said...

Congrats on 200!

Yeah, appearances can be deceiving, can't they? I was once in a laundromat, and there was a guy whom I thought was scary looking, and I couldn't wait to get away...until I saw that he was sorting little baby socks in his basket. I wish I had taken a photo of THAT scene!

Janna Qualman said...

Pink - What a heartwarming picture you just painted in my mind! I wish I could've seen that.

Jen said...

Well, thanks to that picture, I now know that I am a horror writer, because I suddenly had a very scary story pop into my mind when I saw that picture.

Telling, isn't it? Or is it just too much Halloween candy?