A writing exercise: Is looking back looking backwards?

“A woman’s mind is cleaner than a man’s; she changes it more often.”~Oliver Herford, American writer

Have you ever reviewed your life one month at a time?

The Photo365 app–for iPhone, definitely, maybe Android–gives me that opportunity. Take a photo a day, attach or upload it to a calendar format and look back at the end of the month for a complete picture of what you accomplished that month. It’s easy to be reminded of subtle and simple forgotten parts of your month.


Welcome to my August 2016 in review

There are a lot of apps out there that do this. What I like about this is:
1) It was free as a Starbucks download.
2) You can put up to 5 photos on each day; however, only one picture shows as the signature image. I can click on the specific day to see if I added more photos, thus reminding me of additional adventures.
3) You can create a postcard of the month to automatically mail anywhere.
4) You can add photos months later if you’re catching up or find a photo you forgot about.
5) You can create a photo book directly from the app.

I haven’t taken advantage of all those option, but they’re there if I want.

What does my month show? At a glance: creating art with friends and family; my happy, blooming plants; an unexpected obsession with Pokémon GO; coffee and writing adventures; Swarm accomplishments; and peeks at upcoming life changes.

So I’m spontaneously trying an exercise. That’s right; you’re reading this live and unedited. As an unexpected continuation of my post about Writer’s Block, here’s an exercise I’m doing: I’m writing one sentence about each day’s image to attempt to create a story at the end of the month. I’m not going to edit this in any way. Let’s see if I can create something compelling out of context.

Pardon me while I reheat my coffee. Okay, here I go. This is scary.


“Wow! That’s a lot of coffee,” he said.

I curled up under the tree in the plaza, my favorite place to sit. “I guess so. I’ve been here 15 times this month.” I thought back to the writing seminar I just finished. The sun was setting over the plaza, which made me feel tired. “I guess I’m just a coffee shark.”

“Well, Happy Anniversary to use,” he said, raising his cardboard coffee cup. It’s a shame he’s not using a for-here mug; cardboard can be recycled, but what a waste to the environment. I didn’t clink-clunk, I stared at the chess players at the table across the way. The yoga dancers in the center of the park. The uniformed police walking around, making sure these people didn’t upset the quiet of the quaint little town. Dogs on leashes, of course. Businessmen going off to Happy Hour at Corner Bar, the hip and trendy place to gather. I heard it was full of snakes; you know, the lawyers, investors and studs who hypnotize you into buying what they’re selling.

With a sigh, I replied, “Yes, Happy 10-month Anniversary to us meeting online.”

My friend recommended the service, thinking I was too lonely or lost or pathetic to venture out on my own. She was right; the only daily contact I had was with my mailman. The guy I saw every Tuesday at 6pm at the dry cleaner always intrigued me, punctual or perhaps time-obsessed. He and I had short words, a conversation of three words: “Hello. How’s you?” He looked 22 years old, but his clothes he had pressed were the suits of a businessman, perhaps one of the businessmen going into Corner Bar.

My guy and I, we painted the town with date nights every Friday. That included meeting in this park, officially, drinking coffee outside while the weather was warm. The sun was setting, and the trees were getting darker and shadowy. It was time, time to share the gift I got him, the tickets for us. This was a sticky situation. It would be like hitting a brick wall, yet still smiling and glad you did it.

“Here’s a going away present,” I said, pulling the bag out of my pocket. “The two football tickets you bought for us; I won’t be going with you, ever.”

I stood up and felt free, surprisingly alive. I had stored my emotions too long–9 months and three weeks, to be exact–and it was time to celebrate with ice cream, walking away and not looking back.


That took me 21 minutes, 47 seconds to write. I wonder if I edited myself because I knew I was doing this for publication here. I wonder how much I was influenced by the actual locations where the photos were taken. It’s hard to pull life out of context. It all starts with the first sentence.

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One Response to A writing exercise: Is looking back looking backwards?

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