Writing a story starting from a picture

Loved working with you today.  You are a nice “bunch” of special creative wordsmiths!

writing a story starting from a picture


Kambili is feeling exhausted, she can barely find the energy to walk back to the camp.  The other kids are looking at her, she is their beacon, but, today she cannot possibly help them.  She finds it extremely hard to cope with the day.   After 10 hours spent working she feels empty.  Who is she?  What is she doing?  Is this the life she is doomed to live for the rest of her days? My hands are sore, she can hardly move them.  Her fingers are swollen, her middle and ring finger are half crooked.  Calluses, calluses: lifting stones, digging, bending, pulling, pushing,  have wiped out any sign of innocence.  Have her hands ever looked like the soft hands of a western child?  Look at my hands.  Don’t look away, they are here.  Can’t you see them? Don’t you want to see them more closely?
Her rumbling stomach is a furious lion, roaring.  It is expressing ancestral anger.  Trembling, shaking, quaking, tottering, heaving: a never ending movement, an incessant sign of her rage, wrath.  Why me?  Why me?  Why us? I am only a child, I want to be a child.  Please, let me live the life of a child.  Being born here or there, here in dreary conditions or there in a cosy dimension, it is not an issue of “deserving” it, but a pure matter of luck.  Coincidence, spiteful coincidence.  If I had been begotten there, not here, what would my life be like now?  Tormenting, torturing questions.  You damn fool, stop this sadistic game of unanswered questions.  You afflict yourself with questions nobody can reply.
She still remembers the day she was sent away from home.  A chasm opened up in the middle of her chest.  Pain, dreadful pain.  Fear, benumbing fear.  Powerlessness, smothering feeling of being trapped, caged.  Her parents could not support her any longer.  Another kid was on its way.  There were too many mouths to feed and no money.  She was old enough to find her own way.  She had to.  Sent far away from home, to a remote place, in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by caves of stone, digging for a piece of bread, of stale bread and a lousy bed to lie on.  Other kids were there, lots of them.  A swarm of unblessed creatures. Perhaps she was luckier, wasn’t she? She wasn’t the youngest.  There were kids who were a few years younger than her and they had already been sent there.  There, there, a gaping inferno, sweltering hot, aching bodies covered in sweat, parching tongues, dried to the very root.  We are not human anylonger, we are animal-like shadows, bodies moving automatically to the orders of domineering and indifferent adults.  I was born human, but then I was denied any human existence.   Water, water, I need some water.  I want to take a bath, I want to get washed.  My clothes are soaked in sweat, they cling firmly to my body, they are my second skin.  I feel the urge to rip them off.  I want to free myself from, from…  I am so very tired, I am… I am invisible.  I am… I am struggling to survive.  I am… I am on verge of exhaustion.  I am a vanishing weary soul.  Soul? How can I nourish my soul when surrounded by loathsome living conditions? Ruthless adults, after me because I can fit holes they can’t get into.  Who am I for them? I am a nobody to them, but I am somebody to Kari, Omtu and Krum.  They rely on me, they seek refuge in me.  My very existence is meaningful to them and so it becomes meaningful to me too.

Cristiana Ziraldo

Now I want to read your literary production!

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5 Responses to Writing a story starting from a picture

  1. creativewriter says:

    I read your “creative pieces”, I am just astonished. We’ve just started and you have already “taken off” without any “bumps”. What a great “writing team” are you! I am very proud of you.

    She is there, silent and alone, looking at the sunset: this is the only moment when she can relax after a hard workday and think. Think about her, her life, her family, her struggles. The struggles that she has to fight completely, and absolutely, alone. Nobody helps her, nobody understands her, nobody loves her.
    Every evening she goes to the same place and cries, silently. When Zubaida was a child she was so beautiful! She was an Egyptian child like others, but had long dark wavy hair, big and smiling eyes and a rare charming face which was always happy. She didn’t know what life really was, until her ninth birthday. She will never forget when two portly men entered her house and walked her to a big building: only later did she realise how this would change her life.
    Today, it is her twelfth birthday, and she hasn’t been home for three years. She hasn’t seen, embraced and talked to her family for 1095 long and terrible days.
    Now she is unrecognizable: her eyes are constantly tired, her small hands are sore and full of corns, and the smile on her face has disappeared.
    Even if she is only twelve, definitely she isn’t yet a child: she was forced to grow up quickly, and this has changed her life. Zubaida can’t remember when it was the last time she played with other children, or the last time she dreamed something which wasn’t a terrible nightmare.
    Because, this is her life: just a nightmare. The only difference is that she hasn’t got any chance to wake up…

    Silvia Ersetti


    In my village they call me Lee, but Lee isn’t my real name. Actually I don’t have a name. Here people think that girls aren’t important enough to have a name. I live in a little hut with my mother and my little brother. My father died 3 years ago, when I was 6, and since then I’ve always had to help my mother take the water from the well, feed the geese, look after my brother…
    Most of the children of the village aren’t as poor as I am. They don’t need to work. They sing, they dance, they play. They tease me. I don’t have any friends and I can rely only on myself.
    Today I’m really tired: I’ve been digging in the garden for hours and the only thing I want is to stay on my own and relax. I think I’ll go to my secret place among the rocks. I always go there when I feel a bit sad: I like walking alone and looking at the horizon. I imagine being in a field full of flowers surrounded by angels. They sing lovely songs and they hold my hand; we fly away from here and we visit all the countries in the world… We run across green laws, we smell Mother Nature’s scents, we meet other children and we play together all day long. Then my father comes: he is an angel too. I think about the stories he used to tell me. One is about a poor beautiful girl that one day bumps into a prince and falls in love with him; he takes her to his castle and they live happily ever after. Dad used to say I would find my Prince Charming like that girl. I always miss him a lot, but now he’s here, he’s next to me, and I’m not feeling lonely. He tells me not to worry, because he knows that everything will be fine and one day all my dreams will come true.

    Letizia Bergamasco

    The Run

    I can say that she has been standing there for more than a half an hour. My Mom has always told me to stay away from the crazy one.
    And that’s Abira.
    I was only a child and I knew already what people said of her: before I could snap my eyes open I knew what she looked like without even seeing her.
    Knew she had a bruise under her left eye.
    Knew she was what the old mothers of the village whispered about.
    Knew what mean words they’d spit out.
    Witch, evil…death… Abira sneezed in front of me. I stifled a laugh. She looks harmless to me.
    I can’t imagine her chant and cast spells on the villagers.
    «Fatima!» my Mom called me from our mud hut.
    I spun, realizing that I’ve stopped working.
    «Yes, mother?»
    She was running in a hurry, her black dress picking the color of her hair.
    «What do you think you’re doing standing there like a piece of log? Work! Do you think those brick huts will build themselves?»
    I bowed my head, biting the inside of my cheek. As the others here, I had no way of reproaching Mother and Father with exploiting me.
    I was stuck there, sucked in a black hole of days one similar to the others.
    Mother gave me a scolding pat on the head and then left with a warning glance.
    I returned to my un-glued bricks when my breath caught in my throat.
    Abira, THE Abira, was staring at me with her clear soulful blind light grey eyes. The color of the stupid bricks I was holding.
    «We can change that» she whispered feebly, her hands dangling at her sides, fingers burnt and twitching, snapping like branches in a storm.
    At first I just stared, afraid that if I blinked she would disappear.
    «Excuse me?» I asked, eyes burning from the fatigue of fixing; sweat seeping through my cotton tee, making visible half moons under my armpits.
    «Let’s try and run » she proposed in her monochord tone. Again, I was struck blind. Run? Was she nuts?
    There was nowhere to run! If she had seen the desert she wouldn’t have said anything so reckless.
    Despite all my very sharp replies all I blurted out was: «Run? How? Where?!»
    She smiled at me, wrinkles deepening and broad brown eyebrows rising.
    «Anywhere!» she exclaimed. Kids were staring at us.
    She couldn’t sense that, but I could.
    «Look » – I mentally kicked myself for the use of the word – I grabbed a brick as if I wanted to hit her with it.
    «Look just leave me alone, would you?»
    Now things were getting pretty bad. A half circle of curios kids was forming around us.
    She went on smiling, although an unpleasant glint in her eyes shadowed her smile.
    «I want to run away. I’m sick and tired of working and no eating. Do you want to spend the rest of your life here, building huts and pyramids? »
    I didn’t dare make a sound.
    «I need you » she said vehemently.
    «Why?» I was about to say when Johna, my Hebrew friend, tapped me on the shoulder, saying: «Everything’s ok?»
    And that’s when the answer struck me: she didn’t see. Abira needed someone who could guide her.
    Abira’s face was completely shadowed now, and her puffy 8 year-old-face distorted into a wrong, wicked one.
    But something in my mind reeled, and the wall that was protecting me from falling apart and losing what was left of my self-control, crumbled down.
    Someone needed me. Needed me. Not for building or cooking or slaving. No. Someone needed me to save them.
    My scream echoed all over the small community, reaching the far end of the Dagger’s Tip, spreading over the Red Sea, far, far away… I hoped the Gods have heard that.
    Johna tried to shut me up but instead I just ran away. The words “spend the rest of your life building huts and pyramids…slave” rumbling.

    And that’s why the next day I tried to escape with her. We got caught. After rotting for two weeks in the underground cells we got freed. The same night we hid under the cart going to Alexandria.
    Someone must have busted us.
    Another 2 weeks in prison. Our summer went by in a blink of an eye.
    Everyday Abira showed me what she could sense with her blind eyes. Taught me to predict a storm just from the hooting. She told me of her mother. Of how she died in labor. Of how her relatives hated her for that. Not because they cared, but because her mother was an important and well-paid performer at the Pharaoh’s court.
    I lied to Mother and Father. They’ve been staring me down quite a long time but then decided to let it go. It wasn’t worth it. Being mad at me wasn’t worth it. I wasn’t worth it.
    In January we finally got our chance.
    I’ve never imagined there could be a world outside our village. But Abira proved me wrong. Seas have never been so blue. Trees never so broad. Freedom never so sweet.

    -Deleanu Maria Andreea

    Another day, another hour, another minute….. “Will I be here tomorrow?… I have been working all day without resting, eating or drinking water”. Erika sighed. Erika is the daughter of Miss. Williams and like her daughter, I live in a small village of Mundri Town – Sudan. “Why can’t I go to school like every child? Why should I work for 15 hours a day? Why a child of 10 has to work to have a small piece of bread a day? Aren’t I a normal child wishing to play with friends?” – Erika looked at me crying, then she added – “Look at me, look at yourself, we are tired and we can’t rest! We have to work for all those hours a day to survive on a piece of bread. As for me I think that I can’t continue living like a robot”. I started crying with her. A man came to us, he sat next to me saying: “What’s wrong with you my children? Don’t worry about me, I’ll be poor for the rest of my life, but as for you, one day you’ll say I was the POOR one!”

    Lilian Opoku

    I immediately saw a dazzling light. I don’t remember what I did before coming here, or who brought me here. I only know that I’m alone, I don’t know anybody here, everything’s so strange. I can tell you something about me.
    Well, I am eight years old, I was born at El-Harra, in the middle of the Sahara desert. I was born where you can smell the scent of ebony. I loved my village, there were all my friends and my relatives. At El-Harra I could be myself; I was called “black pearl” because of my very dark eyes.
    Unfortunately in my village there was a civil war and one day some policemen knocked the door of my little, poor but lovely house. My mother and my father told me to hide somewhere and they didn’t reply when someone asked to enter our house. Suddenly those men broke into the house: they had a muscular build and a scarred face that frightened me a lot.
    I will remember their face all my life. At around 8 a.m. , from my hideout, I saw those frightening men clubbing my parents to death. It has been an exhaustively long day for me.
    After the death of my parents I stayed in my hiding place for an hour or more because I was really shocked by what the killers did.
    Then I went to my aunt and my uncle’s house to inform them of my parents’ death. When I entered, they had already heard the terrible news. In my village everybody knows everything about everybody. I spent the rest of the day with my relatives.
    When I went to bed my only thought was the scene of my parents’ death repeated several times in my mind. The nightmare that will accompany me forever. It will haunt me, spoil my existence.
    I woke up, I’m dirty and here everything is new. Where are my relatives and my friends? Where am I?
    I will remember the scent of ebony forever.
    Eleonora Del Col

    Sahna means breeze

    She was sitting on the top of a hard rock. Wandering with her sight through miles of sand.
    Just a few cliffs were peeping out here and there.
    She was searching something to be interested in.
    She looked up. Clouds moving, slowly though.
    It wasn’t right. She wanted her life to get better.
    She would’ve strived to make that happen.
    No pain could be worse than what she was already used to.
    No home. No food. No bed.
    No parents.
    Already experienced.

    She had been sold for little money to people who needed workers for a clothing factory.
    At first she cried. No night asleep.
    Then the needs of her body needed to be taken care of.
    She had tried to escape as well.
    Countless times.
    And countless times she got whipped.
    At last she made it.
    She is here now. She is free.

    Free from those chains.
    Free from all that hard work.
    Free from how they treated her.
    Free from the hell-like factory.
    Even its walls were red like fire, like the blood it was used to seeing every day.
    Free from… from her only friends?

    Sahna could share her pain, her sorrow with them.
    The hunger, the weariness.
    The desires!
    Oh, so much time spent to imagine how the escape of all of them was going to be…
    And now?
    Just the lonely rock remains on the top of the sandy dune.
    The others completely disappeared.

    And yet they didn’t make it.
    The clouds are not the same any more.
    They imperceptibly changed, yet inexorably.

    Tear drops were sprouting like those so-she-heard flowers.
    She had always dreamt of going to a garden, to a park and play with her friends.
    She could hear their voices… She could see them like a mirage, a delusion fading as her tears fell.
    Sun rays got stronger. They were piercing her chest. She couldn’t bear it any more.
    Stood up.
    Shook herself.
    Wiped her tears.
    She was not going to stop now.
    She was going to grow up. Stronger than anyone else.
    To come back and free her companions.
    She was going to start a new life, remembering the past.
    A gentle breeze flowed. She could feel her powers. The strength of will, of past sorrow, of her friends cheering her up from the hellish factory.

    The rock was now overshadowing the inexorable hill. The clouds were running.
    Running so fast and yet not going to fall down.
    And if she fell? Sahna would rise once again, stronger than ever, carrying the scratch, but hardening the heart with a larger smile.

    Alessandro Venti

  2. Cristiana Ziraldo says:

    Waking up before the sun she goes to work. She can’t remember who her mother and father are but sometimes they visit her in her dreams. She works 14 hours a day, not the life to be lived of a 9 year old. She doesn’t know what it’s like to laugh, or what the breeze feels like in her hair, she doesn’t know the feeling of warmth and comfort. She doesn’t find appreciation or security at the end of the day, instead she rests her bruised and battered body on the cold stone floor belonging to the one who beats her. How does she keep living like this? Because she hasn’t known anything else. She was sold so her parents could raise her brothers and sisters. She is treated like a possession. Something that could be owned, left and then forgotten. But she is living, breathing human flesh. She has hopes, dreams and desires and she can love others. She carries thoughts and ideas only no-one is willing to listen. She has been cast aside. No-one has time for her. No time to care. No time to love.
    But someone does love her right?
    Someone has to love her don’t they?

    But who would someone who doesn’t even have a name?

    Lauren O’Neill

  3. Anna Reschiotto says:

    This song makes me happy 🙂

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