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  • Sara Tucker

Meet Me at the Library

I love old photographs. You, too? I've got tons. Some have labels, and some don't. Scrupulously guarded in family albums for years, they have become utter mysteries. We're going to put words to images in this workshop. Some of the images will be photographs and some will be drawn from memory.

Above: Fanny Grundy, photographed in 1897 at the age of 107. Fanny was captured in Guinea as a child and sold to an Arkansas couple at the slave market in New Orleans. A great-great-great-granddaughter wrote down her story in a Pictures Into Words workshop in 2011. It is included in "A Woman's Legacy of Spirit, Love, and Fancy," by Dr. Lydia L. English, an autobiography based on ancestral portraits.

Pictures Into Words

What: A writing workshop led by Sara Tucker

Where: We will meet online (for now), hosted by Kimball Library of Randolph, Vermont

When: February 3 from 10:30 to noon Eastern Time—and other first Fridays through June

How to register: Contact

What to bring: A photograph or a handful of photographs from your personal collection, and something to write with.

This is a fun workshop that, while aimed at novice writers who wish to record a bit of personal or family history, is also suitable for writers of every genre. In it, we will explore some of the key elements of story-telling.

We will start with images—actual photographs or mental images. Our first exercise will involve writing extended captions—descriptions of what we see. Here's my lesson plan for our first meeting. This online meet-up is my way of keeping in touch with my hometown and of sharing a few of my passions (story-telling, old stuff) with fellow enthusiasts.

Exercise 1

Start with a photograph, one that means something to you. It can depict anything, anything at all, as long as the image is one that holds meaning for you, even if that meaning is mysterious. Examples: A tree, a house, a barn, a horse, a dog, a car, a person, a group of people. Really, the possibilities are endless.

If you don’t have a photograph, conjure an image in your mind. Make it as vivid and as specific as you can. The image might be that of a person, a place, an animal, or an object. It might be big (a tree) or small (a teapot). Make it something you know well.