Image Props for Stories #1: All That Was Left – a Stapler, a Money Bag, and a Bird Ornament


“Image Props for Stories #1: All That Was Left Behind Was a Stapler, a Money Bag, and a Bird Ornament” by Joan Y. Edwards

Linda Andersen, June Phyllis Baker, Brenda Madole, and Elaine Green wrote passages for this post using one or more of these props: a stapler, a money bag, and a bird ornament. Thank you for participating. You made this a fun post to read. You made it very entertaining.

This is called: “Image Props for Stories.” I thought this would be a fun way to use photos of things in my house or places I visit. I love taking pictures. This will enable you to use props as a way to improve your writing skills. Actually you can write your own first page using the three props. Write freely. Write what you think came before my paragraph or afterwards. My purpose is to get you to think outside the box. I want you to get your creative juices going. Perhaps one of these props would add depth and meaning to one of your stories. Try it out. See what you think.

Joan Y. Edwards said: At the end of the storm, all that was left was: a stapler, a money bag, and a bird ornament.

stapler image

Stapler – © 2012 Joan Y. Edwards

Money Bag – © 2012 Joan Y. Edwards

Bird blowing horn ornament image

Bird Blowing Horn Ornament – © 2012 Joan Y. Edwards

The wind waged a war with Beth’s small apartment near the railroad tracks. It shook so much the walls vibrated like a dentist drill in her mouth. The last train had gone by ten years ago. She looked out the window and saw a black funnel coming toward her. She picked up the afghan from a chair and ran to the bathroom. She climbed over the sides of the porcelain tub and knelt down in it. She covered herself with the afghan and prayed.

June Phyllis Baker wrote: Holding on the side of the tub, Beth lifted one wobbly leg over the tub at time. Shattered glass from the mirror  covered the floor. 

How would she get out of here without cutting herself? She felt  her way in the dark. She pulled the piece of loose plaster that was dangled from the wall onto the floor like a trail of bread crumbs.

Beth put one foot in front of the other and entered what was once her living room. She wrapped her arms around herself. She was alone and scared.The windows had been blown out. The Christmas tree laid on the floor.  All her favorite ornaments were destroyed. 

“Merry Christmas!” she said. Her eyes filled with tears.

A voice from somewhere called  her name.

“Beth? Thank God you’re alright.”

Linda Andersen added: The air grew quiet and still, like the beach in December.  Beth saw clipped trees, walls flat on the ground, and debris everywhere.  How could she possibly think of a vacation at a time like this?  She checked herself.  No broken bones, no bleeding.  She was alive, even though she stood in a pile of shattered glass. She shook out the afghan that had covered her during the storm and discovered two large holes.  How had she escaped unharmed?

Brenda Madole added: Had it really been 10 years since she left family and friends in Sacramento for this? What was she doing in Ashland, KS anyway? Beth’s questions and thoughts made her mind as dizzy as the twister ravaging her apartment building. The next thing she remembered was seeing the worried look of her elderly neighbor Mrs. O’Cleary closer than Beth would have liked. It seemed all the tenants were gathered in her apartment, or what was left of it. Of course they were just going through looking for survivors and anything that may be a reminder of life before the twister.  As Beth joined in the dazed effort, she couldn’t believe the devastation. She aimlessly looked around when the glare of a reflection caught her eye. Upon closer look, Beth realized it was her favorite stapler from Jr. High sparkling in the post-storm sun. She quickly ran to it as you would an old friend. When she grabbed her stapler, she found next to it her father’s old money bag from the bank he worked in for over 20 years and the tacky Tweety Christmas ornament Grandma sent four years ago. Only those three items remained of her earthly possessions. Beth laughed to herself at the irony of the only things she now had were from her past. The same past she had spent the last 10 years trying to forget. At that moment all the confusion left Beth as surely as the storm had left and she knew what she must do. Go home. Regardless of who or what she would find, Beth knew she must return home to Sacramento.

Joan Y. Edwards said: But how could she just take off and leave these people. They were her family now and they needed her. But the chasm between her and her Mother had gone on long enough. She’d come back here, if she needed to. However, she had to go talk to her Mother in Sacramento. Ten years of not speaking seemed like a long enough cooling off time. Perhaps they could make amends.

What was the best way to get there? She looked at her car…what was left of it, looked like a flattened soda can squished by a giant. It wouldn’t be that car.

She felt a hand on her shoulder. “Are you all right, Beth?”

Elaine Green added: Beth turned around to see Crain’s sweet face. He was still as handsome as ever even with all the soot and dust in his hair. Looking at him, she actually caught a glimpse of what he would look like twenty years from now with salt and pepper hair. His eyes proved he was shaken and scared. However, his grip on Beth’s shoulder was tender, yet firm. He wanted to prove to be as strong and comforting to Beth like she unknowingly had been for him throughout the years. He had adored Beth since the day she rolled into Ashland in her two door coupe stuffed with every last one of her belongings. To Crain it was like yesterday watching her open her car door and basically fall out of the tiny space she had left herself to drive across country to start her new life. Yet, despite her disheveled appearance, to Crain she looked like a tall angel with her golden hair, long legs and scruffy jeans, flip-flops and plaid untucked shirt. Beth never knew what a breath of fresh air she had been in Crain’s life over the years. Her California beauty and sweet temperament is what got him through most of the long hours sitting on his tractor going round and round sowing his wheat fields. They had become dear friends, but he had never found the right time or courage from within to tell her how he really felt.

“You all right.” he asked again.

Beth without thinking fell into his chest and became as limp as a rag doll, yet somehow maintained the tightest squeeze around his neck. It was the first time since the twister turned their small town into rubble that she was able to release all of her emotions. She didn’t feel so alone and scared about standing in a pile of broken glass and fallen walls or as anxiety driven about the future she was about to endure seeing her mother. At this particular moment she felt safe and for her that was all that mattered.

Now add your part.

Thanks for joining in the fun. Now finish the story. If you add parts to the story in your comments, I’ll add them to the text of this blog with your name added as writing it.  Every day I’ll add what you, the readers, put in your comments. I’ll add your name to the tags so that search engines can find what you wrote here.

Everyone who posts a comment or sentences for the story will have a chance to win a free pitch and first page critique. I’ll choose the random winner after midnight on Wednesday, January 11, 2012. It’s a way to celebrate my birthday.

Good luck. Have fun! If you want to leave a whole story about this in your comment, that’s okay, too. Whatever it inspires, go for it! Please leave a comment, even if you don’t add to the story. It is fun to hear from you. You are important to me. Without you, I wouldn’t have a blog, it would be more of a log. You are the biggest part of my blog. Thanks.

Never Give Up
Joan Y. Edwards

Copyright © 2012 Joan Y. Edwards

Changed name from Finish the Story to Props for Stories 4-2-2012. Change name from Props for Stories to Image Props for Stories 5-30-2013.

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13 Responses

  1. Joan,

    What a fun exercise. Thanks for including us. Here is my contribution. Use any or all you like.

    The air grew quiet and still, like the beach in December. Beth saw clipped trees, walls flat on the ground, and debri everywhere. How could she possibly think of a vacation at a time like this? She checked herself. No broken bones, no bleeding. She was alive even though she stood in a pile of shattered glass. She shook out the afghan that had covered her during the storm and discovered two large holes. How had she escaped unharmed?

    Like

    • Dear Linda, I’m glad you think “Finish the Story” is a fun exercise. I added your paragraph before the part about all that was left. I also added your name to the tag section so that someone searching for you online might find you here doing this exercise. I like how you used the afghan to put questions in Beth’s mind and those of the readers about how had she escaped when there were two holes in it. Cool. Have a great day!

      Create Your Own Fun Finish the Story Joan Y. Edwards http://www.joanyedwards.wordpress.com

      Like

  2. Beth-
    Thanks for this fun exercise! Here is my contribution:

    Had it really been 10 years since she left family and friends in Sacramento for this? What was she doing in Ashland, KS anyway? Beth’s questions and thoughts made her mind as dizzy as the twister ravaging her apartment building. The next thing she remembered was seeing the worried look of her elderly neighbor Mrs. O’Cleary closer than Beth would have liked. It seemed all the tenants were gathered in her apartment, or what was left of it. Of course they were just going through looking for survivors and anything that may be a reminder of life before the twister. As Beth joined in the dazed effort, she couldn’t believe the devastation. She aimlessly looked around when the glare of a reflection caught her eye. Upon closer look, Beth realized it was her favorite stapler from Jr. High sparkling in the post-storm sun. She quickly ran to it as you would an old friend. When she grabbed her stapler, she found next to it her father’s old money bag from the bank he worked in for over 20 years and the tacky Tweety Christmas ornament Grandma sent four years ago. Only those three items remained of her earthly possessions. Beth laughed to herself at the irony of the only things she now had were from her past. The same past she had spent the last 10 years trying to forget. At that moment all the confusion left Beth as surely as the storm had left and she knew what she must do. Go home. Regardless of who or what she would find , Beth knew she must return home to Sacramento.

    Like

  3. Dear Brenda,
    Thank you so much for reading my blog and adding such a great insight into the story using all three of the items left behind. Cool, cool, cool. I am in awe of how you put them in seamlessly. You go, Brenda.
    I put what you added to the story on my blog. I also added your name in the tags so that search engines can find your name in this post.
    Have a fun day! Celebrate you. Come back and check to see if others add more to the story for us.

    Joan Y. Edwards
    http://www.joanyedwards.wordpress.com

    Like

  4. Holding on the side of the tub,Beth lifted one wobbly leg over the tub at time. Shattered glass from the mirror covered the floor.
    How would she get out of here without cutting herself? She felt her way in the dark She pulled a the lose plaster that was dangling from the wall on to the floor like a trail of bread crumbs.
    Beth put one foot in front of the other and entered what was once her living room. She wrapped her arms around herself. She was alone and scared.The windows had been blown out. The Christmas tree lain on the floor. All her favorite ornament were destroyed. Merry Christmas she said Her eyes filled with tears..

    A voice from somewhere called her name.. Beth? Thank God your alright.

    I have decided that this year, I was going to take risk. This is my first one.

    Like

    • Dear June, I’m proud of you for taking a risk and adding a comment to my blog. I’m honored. I like how you said, “the plaster dangled.” I could see it ripped apart. Good description. Believe in yourself. Celebrate you three times today!

      Joan Y. Edwards

      Like

      • This was so much fun! What a nice way to start the New Year!

        June

        Like

        • Dear June, I’m glad you think it’s fun and a nice way to start off the New Year! Hip Hip Hooray for you and for “Finish the Story.”

          Add Color to Your Life

          Play. Laugh. Smile. Joan Y. Edwards http://www.joanyedwards.com

          Like

  5. Beth turned around to see Crain’s sweet face. He was still as handsome as ever even with all the soot and dust in his hair. Looking at him, she actually caught a glimpse of what he would look like twenty years from now with salt and pepper hair. His eyes proved he was shaken and scarred, but his grip on Beth’s shoulder was tender yet firm. He wanted to prove to be as strong and comforting to Beth like she unknowingly had been for him throughout the years. He had adored Beth since the day she rolled into Ashland in her two door coupe stuffed with every last one of her belongings. To Crain it was like yesterday watching her open her car door and basically fall out of the tiny space she had left herself to drive across country to start her new life. Yet, despite her disheveled appearance, to Crain she looked like a tall angel with her golden hair, long legs and scruffy jeans, flip flops and plaid untucked shirt. Beth never knew what a breath of fresh air she had been in Crain’s life over the years. Her California beauty and sweet temperment is what got him through most of the long hours sitting on his tractor going round and round sowing his wheat fields. They had become dear friends but he had never found the right time or courage from within to tell her how he really felt. “You all right”, he asked again. Beth without thinking fell into his chest and became as limp as a rag doll, yet somehow maintained the tightest squeeze around his neck. It was the first time since the twister turned there small town into rubble that she was able to release all of her emotions. She didn’t feel so alone and scarred about standing in a pile of broken glass and fallen walls or as anxiety driven about the future she was about to endure seeing her mother. At this particular moment she felt safe and for her that was all that mattered.

    Like

    • Dear Elaine,
      Thanks for adding a part to our story about Beth and the Tornado. I like how you had her roll into Ashland in her two door coupe stuffed with eery last one of her belongings. I also like how you got in the fact that she was going to have to face her Mother. Really good weaving of the former story with your own additions. I added your part to our story and put your name in the tags so that the the search engines can find you here. I appreciate your reading my blog and posting your part. I hope you’ll visit my blog again soon.
      Do something good for you today! Laugh! Smile! Giggle. It’s healing.
      Joan Y. Edwards

      Like

  6. Since it was my Birthday Present having this contest, I am awarding each person who left a comment above – Linda Andersen, June Phyllis Baker, Brenda Madole, and Elaine Green a free pitch and first page critique!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Yee Haw! Send me your pitch and first page to joanyedwards@earthlink.net. I look forward to seeing your work!

    Do something good for you today! Laugh! Smile! Giggle! Never Give Up! Joan Y. Edwards

    Like

  7. Joan,

    Thank you so much for the free gift to blog readers who commented for the birthday contest. I really appreciated the critique of a first page and pitch. Two heads are definitely better than one. Thanks for the gentle reminders about my POV changes. Wow, I can’t believe I couldn’t see it before. Now to make the manuscript much better. Thanks again!

    Linda A.

    Like

    • Dear Linda, I’m glad that my critique of your pitch and first page was helpful to you. It makes me feel good to know that I’ve helped you see your work in a new perspective. It’s fun to celebrate with my readers. Thanks for reading my blog and participating in its activities. Do something good for yourself. Smile Giggle Laugh Joan Y. Edwards Author/Illustrator Flip Flap Floodle on Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Flip-Flap-Floodle-Joan-Edwards/dp/1594572852/

      Like

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