Life, Writing

Flint, steel, tinder – images that spark stories

Later this year, two of my short stories will be appearing in the next Mind’s Eye anthology. The idea behind this book-series is that all the short stories and poetry are inspired by photos provided to each writer. As a writer I found the concept liberating: allowing the inspiration to came from someone else, sparking something within me.

Flint and steel striking a spark, and the fire catching in the tinder.


This happens in everyday life as well, of course, more or less unbidden. Just the other day, I was walking with my family on Granville Island when I saw this print outside a shop: a crow, walking in a field, wearing boots and a cloak that seemed to be made of wings and feathers. After some googling I found out that the artwork is by German artist Rudi Hertzlmeier, and it’s called ‘Crow in Boots’. It’s a painting that hits the sweet spot between evocative realism, dark fantasy, and just plain funny (the eyes, and that stick in its beak). Just by looking at it, you know that this crow is a character in a story, whether it’s been written or not.

Another short story I wrote at the end of last year (one that hasn’t found a home for publication yet), was inspired by ‘Children of the Night’ – a piece of gorgeous Halloween artwork posted by artist and poet Helle Gade. There was just something about those bats, the way they seem to form from, or turn into, curls and wisps of smoke, that set off a story in my head.

And sometimes it’s dreams. Recently, I woke up in the early morning with an image from a dream still vivid and clearly visible in my mind. As things often are with dreams, I’d forgotten most of what it was actually about: what remained was a sense of dread and disbelief. In my dream I saw two moons above a city street: both moons were full and looked just like our moon, though one was larger.

There was a story there, too, even though I’ve forgotten it, at least for the moment.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.