PROMPTuesday #36: The Senses

Well, well, well, here we are again. It’s PROMPTuesday time already. I’ve got to tell you…this week’s is one of my favorites. For two reasons: the picture below has always intrigued me, and I love the song that accompanies it.


I know I’ve done the whole study a photo thing before, plus I’ve included the listen to this song deal in a previous PROMPT. But now, in a deliciously diabolical move, I’ve combined the two into one luscious creative writing promptganza.


Here’s the background: Way back in June, I wrote about my college photojournalism project, where I composed a pictorial on “bus people,” those enigmatic, haunted, sometimes crazy folks I often saw using downtown Milwaukee’s public transportation system. I recall taking the picture of the man below waiting at the bus stop, and he never once looked up as I surveyed his angles and released my noisy shutter over and over just feet from his face. I still think of him often, photoaging him in my mind to imagine what he looks like now, to place him in a happier place; and I return to this picture again and again to analyze his inscrutability.



Here’s where you come in. Write a story about this guy. Or a poem. Or a rumination. Give him some background, some context. And because I couldn’t leave well enough alone, I’ve provided this song snippet — one of my top 10s — to shadow the photo. I don’t know — the two seem to go together. Hopefully, one or the other will inspire you.



If you care to observe the PROMPTuesday rules (not a requirement. after all, what kind of creative would I be if I stuck to “rules?”), here they are:


  • Try to write your entry in 10 minutes. This encourages top-of-mind, primal thinking before the ego and judgmental brain kick in. Just set a timer, make your kid count to 600 slowly, whatever. It’s an honor system. And I trust you.
  • Aim for 250 words or less.
  • Please have fun. Don’t put pressure on yourself. Together, let’s rediscover the simple joy in the writing process.
  • Post your submission in the comments OR post in your blog and leave a link to your blog in the comments.


If you’re new, read a bit about this weekly writing exercise here.


Or, catch up on the PROMPTuesdays archive here.


13 Responses to “PROMPTuesday #36: The Senses”

  1. kate says:

    i’m very excited about this one.

  2. […] a photo of a man on a bus. Deb’s done her magical thinking thing once again and has asked us to come up with a story or a poem or something about him. There’s […]

  3. I did it! Finally! Didn’t exactly follow the rules, but you already said I didn’t have to [I’m holding onto that permission].

    That was most excellent fun, thank you. :D

  4. Blog This Mom! has posted Inscrutable Scrutiny.

    Thanks for another great prompt Deb. Now I’m off to read the others.

  5. Jennifer says:

    I’ve finally found time to post again. I hope you all like it.

  6. I’m finally doing it. That horrible old woman is dead and I’m finally doing it. I’m getting out of here. My whole damn life spent under that woman’s thumb, taking her abuse. I should have left her on her own a long time ago, bitter old bag. I only stuck around to take care of her cause no one else would. My brother didn’t give a shit. My junkie sister was no help either. When dad passed, I told him I’d take care of her drunken ass and I did. Now she’s dead and I can start my own life. Maybe it’s not too late to start a family of my own, if anyone will have me. I can do something. I can amount to something now without that millstone around my neck. I can hop the next bus and just take it anywhere. Start over. There’s nothing in the world to stop me, if I just get up off this bench and take that first step. Another minute or so, and I’m gone. I mean it.

    PS: This is absolutely a piece of fiction. I adore my mother! — Cocktail Maven

  7. g says:

    I’m up!! I couldn’t get the song to play, so I just used the photo to write my piece.

    Can’t wait to read everyone else’s.

  8. g says:

    Love Cocktail Maven’s piece, too. The unsympathetic/sympathetic character.

    BTW – I’m sorry I took my guy completely off the bus. I thought he’d be the kind of person who’d ride a bus, though.

  9. Me says:

    Mine’s up.
    PS Next time you’re visiting your dad in Camarillo you should swing by my place.

  10. Carrie says:

    I just have to say that Turpentine is one of my favorite songs of 2008! Did you know that Brandi Carlile is a Washingtonian too?

  11. vodkamom says:

    I miss the damn prompt day. DAMMIT. I am snowed in here in CT, but wanted to wish you a lovely new year.


Leave a Reply