Writing Prompt: Old Photos of Strangers

One of the best used bookstores in the city, Sideshow Rare & Remarkable Books, Art & Curiosities, is one mile from our apartment. I love strapping on my backpack and walking over to see what they’ve got. I usually only buy one book at a time. Most recently, I got Egan’s A Visit from the Goon Squad for under five dollars.

I also bought a handful of discarded photos for fifty cents each. I keep them in the back pocket of my Moleskine journal and pull them out whenever I feel like doing a character study. Like this:

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The man who took the photo, Rich Michaels, is married to the woman on the lawn chair, Jeanine Michaels. The guy pulling her close is the dentist who lives next door, Dr. Bud Kreigman. He smells like whiskey. A few hours after this photo was taken, while she unclasped her pearls, Jeanine asked Rich, “How could you let him touch me like that?”

Or this:

Molly Whitman waits until the week before her wedding to tell her mother,

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Pauline Whitman can’t imagine what Molly is talking about. Withhold? Withhold what? She tells her what she’s always told her, “Lower your voice.” And then she says,

old picture with words


Here are two more. What do you think? Who are these people? What do they want? What’s preventing them from getting it?

old strangers

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