Combining photography and writing

When I was younger (meaning college age), I was sure that I was going to be a writer.  The main thing holding me back, I thought to myself, was my lack of real experience in the world.  Having grown up in the South, it’s not like I was ever really exposed to majestic mountains or exotic locations. I felt I was living a life of isolation, devoid of adventure.  This dearth of experience, I reasoned, needed to be overcome if I was to become the writer I knew I could become.

It wasn’t until the last few years that I realized I was stalling.  I was turning my writer’s block into the Great Mental Wall of China, ensuring that I would never complete any sort of writing project. But the funny part was that I was doing this while fooling myself into believing that all I was doing was preparing to write.  One of the tools I used for this was photography.

After joining the military in 1995, I finally was able to see the world.  My personal comfort zone was destroyed forever, and for the next 12 years I was able to see and do things that a lot of people never will.  Throughout all this, I kept telling myself that I needed to capture these experiences somehow.  One day, I will translate my life into the background of a novel.  And the mechanism I used to record this was often photography. Photos of ice capped mountains, searing deserts, massive waterfalls, and the like filled my albums, and nearly all never really served the purpose I had hoped they would.

That was until recently.  This blog is the most obvious manifestation of my renewed interest in sparking writing creativity through photography.  But I also was able to recently complete an assignment for Associated Content that thrilled me more than it should have.  This assignment simply said “Write a story about an image you have taken.” When I read that, old desires reignited, and I dug through my pictures.  Interestingly, the one that caught my eye for the story wasn’t one of the more dramatic photos I’ve taken.  It was a sepia image (cheap digital camera) that I took of a small church in a secluded part of Iceland.  The story has nothing to do with Iceland, but this image finally did what I had wanted my photos to do for years: it provided me with a creative impulse that translated into a story.  I’m including the link below.  I hope you enjoy.

Evening and Morning: The Day Tony Miller Sold His Soul

I love this picture.  Gollfoss (Golden Falls) Iceland (August 2002).  This imposing waterfall looks like a big crack in the earth.  Take a close look at the edge if the water in the foreground…those are people.  I have shots from the edge, but I’ll have to post later.

Anyone writing a book? The time is coming to choose the topic of my next novel manuscript

I’m still wading through editing my first-ever manuscript.  It’s slow going, but I still hope to have it out to agents by the end of the year.  Once I finish my editing, I plan on pulling together notes for my next effort.  The only problem is, I’m not sure where exactly I want to invest the time.

My first work started as simply an academic exercise.  I wanted to prove to myself once and for all that I could finish a novel from start to finish. As part of the exercise, I chose an idea that I had thought up relatively recently that I wasn’t all that attached to.  This idea took root as I wrote, and I believe it’s a pretty good comedy.  The manuscript working title is Chasing After Vanity, but I’m probably going to change that before I send it out to the publishing world.

So now I’m trying to decide whether I want to do something else fun, like a science fiction book, or something that’s a little more thought provoking.  I’d like to decide before November, because I intend to flesh my next manuscript out during National Novel Writing Month (I have an older article about that down below…31 Aug or 1 Sep).

Anyone else out there currently in the midst of writing a book?