Weekly Writing Challenge: 1,000 words (well…some words)


This week’s writing challenge is based around the idea that a picture can speak a thousand words. I don’t know that you’ll get that many here…but you’re sure to get a few.

I am kind of cheating by using two of the captioned images, but hopefully I’ll go on to justify that…The image above captioned ‘creativity’ shows a bespectacled, moustachioed man behind a window blocked by the kind of  bars you tend to find on the windows of prisons or Victorian nurseries. Ribbons of colour spread from something being held in the man’s hand, something that we cannot quite see, a kind of magic wand of a pen, pencil, brush, or other mark-making device. This grey-man, trapped behind his grey window away from the world is spreading colour past the boundary of the window sill, but also recording elements from the outside world in the grasses and farming practices depicted in his brightly-coloured creations. He’s Holman-Hunt’s Lady of Shalott tangled in a web, ‘…half sick of shadows.’

William Holman Hunt, 'The Lady of Shalott' (1905)
William Holman Hunt, ‘The Lady of Shalott’ (1905)

Like the Lady of Shalott, does this man base his creations on some kind of reflection or screen through which he learns about the world outside? Does he have a modern-day version of such a thing? A computer screen perhaps? (Yes I got there in the end!)  The grey-man’s output seems to possess a kind of naivety that may come from his nursery-like incarceration, whether that is interrupted by the intrusion of outside information from time to time or not.


The image above shows a passive ‘contemplation’ of the sea. This man is not actively creating but is almost the same grey-blue colour of the rocks and sea below, himself becoming a reflection of his environment, rather than living through a reflection.

A blog is a space for contemplation like the imaginary screen in the place that the grey-man lives, a white screen which we stare at before we go on to create, a situation which in turn becomes comparative to the above image of the sea and the man who contemplates it.  But the sea and the screen, nature and the screen, are entirely different things, where one has an expansive sublime quality the other only reaches such an effect through the waves of information we can access as soon as we go to google. The sea has the freedom of nature and the man sits in stillness before it, having no control of what presents itself on his ‘screen.’ Through our computer screens we receive the idea of others, rather than accessing a the freedom necessary for the contemplation which leads to a real feeling of creativity; the time, space, lack of constraints and fear of judgement we get when faced by the outside world itself; an un-naive un-nursery-like refection of the world as it is, not as the internet has made it.

But in the end, somebody painted that man onto a closed-off, caged-up window, and imagined this man’s creativity from the outside, and made something that many other people have used to create their own pieces of creativity (ones like this…well..I never said they’d be good).


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