Creative Prompts (Lost shoe series #2): A Missing Step

For reasons that I don’t fully understand, I see a lot of lost or abandoned shoes about. So many that I only stop to take a photograph these days if there is something particularly odd or interesting about them or the way they are positioned.

When I spotted these shoes the other morning in the car park of a super market my first thought was ‘huh, that’s odd’. There is something about the way they are positioned which invokes movement of a person in my mind, or perhapse a journey. It’s a bit like someone, for an unknown reason, has kicked off their shoes as they were rushing away from something, or rushing towards somthing.

Why would somone discard their shoes like this? What do you think that thing was?

I’m not a huge fan of creative exercises, so it’s not my habit to tell people what to do with these prompts. There are lots of options – a scene, some flash fiction, a short story, an idea for a short film or a physical piece of art. If you do have a go with this one and would like to drop the result in the comments please do so. I would be very interested to see what people make of these so please do link to blog posts or comment below.

Thank you for reading. I also write, make art and films. If you like these prompts and want to get a copy of a free short book of them I wrote, and to hear more about my writing projects please join my mailing list here. You can see my films at my YouTube channel here. You can see things with my designs on at my shop here. Could even treat yourself if you wanted to. Just saying. If buying art is not your thing, but you would like to support what you see I also have a Patreon Page here.

One-Time
Monthly
Yearly

Like my work but none of the above options appeal? You could consider a one off donation instead. I would really appreciate it.

Make a monthly donation

Make a yearly donation

Choose an amount

£2.00
£5.00
£10.00
£2.00
£5.00
£10.00
£5.00
£10.00
£15.00

Or enter a custom amount

£

Your contribution is appreciated.

Your contribution is appreciated.

Your contribution is appreciated.

DonateDonate monthlyDonate yearly

Creative Prompt (Lost shoe series #1): ‘Was there a body nearby?’

It doesn’t happen to me very often, but now and again you see something and a blog post almost writes itself. That’s what happened with this creative prompt. I was out walking with my son on New Year’s Day, having taken him to the park to burn off some of that Christmas energy, and we were on our way home via the train station so that he could look at some trains.

Just outside our local station is a set of railings that fence off the embankment for the tracks leading inot the platforms. Over time the space between the slope of the embankment and the fencing has become full of stuff. Rubbish, brambles (both dead and alive), and odd bits of clothing. I saw this shoe poking out near the bottom of the rails and stopped to take a photo.

Later in the week I posted the photo on instagram (you can follow me here, should you want to) and someone made a comment along the lines of ‘was there a body nearby?’ which I found kind of funny. But it did get me thinking – given the build up of stuff behind those railings, who knows what is burried at the bottom of it? It feels like it could be the beginning of a good thriller or police procedural story for someone.

Who do you think the shoe could have belonged to? How do you think it got there?

I’m not a huge fan of creative exercises, so it’s not my habit to tell people what to do with these prompts. There are lots of options – a scene, some flash fiction, a short story, an idea for a short film or a physical piece of art. If you do have a go with this one and would like to drop the result in the comments please do so. I would be very interested to see what people make of these so please do link to blog posts or comment below.

Thank you for reading. I also write, make art and films. If you like these prompts and want to get a copy of a free short book of them I wrote, and to hear more about my writing projects please join my mailing list here. You can see my films at my YouTube channel here. You can see things with my designs on at my shop here. Could even treat yourself if you wanted to. Just saying. If buying art is not your thing, but you would like to support what you see I also have a Patreon Page here.

One-Time
Monthly
Yearly

Like my work but none of the above options appeal? You could consider a one off donation instead. I would really appreciate it.

Make a monthly donation

Make a yearly donation

Choose an amount

£2.00
£5.00
£10.00
£2.00
£5.00
£10.00
£5.00
£10.00
£15.00

Or enter a custom amount

£

Your contribution is appreciated.

Your contribution is appreciated.

Your contribution is appreciated.

DonateDonate monthlyDonate yearly

Creative Prompt: The Chariot (to take us into the new year)

We had a cold snap about a week ago, and while I was walking towards my home one morning I noticed this little car, dusted with frost, sitting on the wall. As we were approaching the end of another strange year, it bought to mind the idea of a chariot to carry us into the next one.

In normal times, for many people the turn of the year is a time to reflect on what has happened over the months that have past, and think about what they may want to do in the months to come. It is a time for resolutions. But these have not been normal times, and making any concrete plans for the next few months may feel premature to many.

I’m not a fan of New Year resolutions in any kind of time, as my ideas seem to shift frequently enough to make them feel outdated quite quickly. I have a list of projects that I have been working on for a while, and I’ll continue to inch towards the finish lines with those, but this doesnt feel like a new ‘resolution’, just a continuation of what I’ve been doing over the last few years. However I do think it’s quite a good time to stop and take stock, creatively speaking, of how things have been developing and to think about what may come next.

While this wasn’t part of the plan when I started them (like there was a plan!), these creative prompt posts are becoming quite in interesting space to explore ideas in a short form way that won’t necessarily make it into bigger projects. A few weeks ago I published a series about neighbourhood intrigues (here, here and here) that diverged a little from my usual format, and detailed strange little incidents or behaviours I had observed in my local area. I had begun to feel like I was writing the same thing over and over, so to do something a bit different was refreshing and enjoyable. I’m hoping to do a bit more of this, and to also explore some other sources of inspiration. I have wanted to take a deeper look into the idea of psychological archetypes for some time, and these posts may lend themselves quite well to this. So, look out for a few new approaches from me next year. I hope that this time provides you a similar moment of pause, that allows new ideas to flow.

Do you have new creative ideas that you would like to pursue next year? Where may this chariot carry you?

Thank you for reading. I also write, make art and films. If you like these prompts and want to get a copy of a free short book of them I wrote, and to hear more about my writing projects please join my mailing list here. You can see my films at my YouTube channel here. You can see things with my designs on at my shop here. Could even treat yourself if you wanted to. Just saying. If buying art is not your thing, but you would like to support what you see I also have a Patreon Page here.

One-Time
Monthly
Yearly

Like my work but none of the above options appeal? You could consider a one off donation instead. I would really appreciate it.

Make a monthly donation

Make a yearly donation

Choose an amount

£2.00
£5.00
£10.00
£2.00
£5.00
£10.00
£5.00
£10.00
£15.00

Or enter a custom amount

£

Your contribution is appreciated.

Your contribution is appreciated.

Your contribution is appreciated.

DonateDonate monthlyDonate yearly

Creative Prompt: A key on the pavement

It’s getting close to the end of the year and I have been trying to spot some more festive creative prompts for the next couple of weeks. Unfortunately I’ve not actually come across many that I like yet. However, while I was out and about yesterday I did spot this key on the pavement in the lunchtime sunlight.

I was particularly drawn to this little key because of the rust on it. When I look at it I get the sense that it may have been lost for some time, dropped somewhere cold and damp a while ago, only to return to the light now, for reasons unknown. It brings to mind the opening sequences of those adventure movies I used to watch as a child, where some kind of object like a treasure map, or indeed an old rusty key, falls into the hands of a gang of children, who then decide to set off on their adventures.

This key is a bit more modern looking, but they mystery of what it may be the key to still stands. What kind of lock do you think this key opens? A bike lock? A security box? A burried box of treasure?

I’m not a huge fan of creative exercises, so it’s not my habit to tell people what to do with these prompts. There are lots of options – a scene, some flash fiction, a short story, an idea for a short film or a physical piece of art. If you do have a go with this one and would like to drop the result in the comments please do so. I would be very interested to see what people make of these.

Thank you for reading. I also write, make art and films. If you like these prompts and want to get a copy of a free short book of them I wrote, and to hear more about my writing projects please join my mailing list here. You can see my films at my YouTube channel here. You can see things with my designs on at my shop here. Could even treat yourself if you wanted to. Just saying. If buying art is not your thing, but you would like to support what you see I also have a Patreon Page here.

One-Time
Monthly
Yearly

Like my work but none of the above options appeal? You could consider a one off donation instead. I would really appreciate it.

Make a monthly donation

Make a yearly donation

Choose an amount

£2.00
£5.00
£15.00
£2.00
£5.00
£15.00
£5.00
£10.00
£20.00

Or enter a custom amount

£

Your contribution is appreciated.

Your contribution is appreciated.

Your contribution is appreciated.

DonateDonate monthlyDonate yearly

Creative Prompt (neighbourhood intrigue series #3): A Disagreement

Long time followers of these posts will know that my usual format is to post a photograph of something quirky that I have seen, often an object that has been lost or left somewhere, and then add my own thoughts or questions as a kind of prompt for other people to have other creative ideas. In this mini-series of neighbourhood intrigue I have been trying out a few different things. I would be very interested to know if people like these experiments with the form?

I tend to try to adopt a mindful, curious approach to my day to day errands these days, as in these Covid-19 influenced times, I don’t often get to roam as far as I used to for inspiration. Recently I’ve been quite intrigued by some of the little clues I see to odd little interactions happening between people who live near each other, but may never have actually met.

One of the recent little dramas I have become intrigued by started with this sign:

Someone had printed and laminated a number of these signs, and stapeled them to fences or taped them to lamp posts along a particular strip of pavement along one of the streets where I regularly walk. Along that particular route someone else seems to regularly walk their dog and frequently doesn’t clean up after it releaves itself on the pavement. I have never seen the person with their dog, but can only assume it is a large dog from the available evidence.

After these signs went up, there did seem to be an improvement in the problem for a while, but then a few weeks ago the dog mess seemed to return, and this had happened to the sign:

This is where I leave the story for now, as this is where my clues run out for now. But I am curious to know, what will happen next?

Thank you for reading. I also write, make art and films. If you like these prompts and want to get a copy of a free short book of them I wrote, and to hear more about my writing projects please join my mailing list here. You can see my films at my YouTube channel here. You can see things with my designs on at my shop here. Could even treat yourself if you wanted to. Just saying. If buying art is not your thing, but you would like to support what you see I also have a Patreon Page here.

One-Time
Monthly
Yearly

Like my work but none of the above options appeal? You may want to consider a one off donation instead.

Make a monthly donation

Make a yearly donation

Choose an amount

£2.00
£5.00
£10.00
£2.00
£5.00
£10.00
£2.00
£5.00
£10.00

Or enter a custom amount

£

Your contribution is appreciated.

Your contribution is appreciated.

Your contribution is appreciated.

DonateDonate monthlyDonate yearly

Creative Prompt (neighbourhood intrigue series #2): Character Study

When I write these posts I have a few rules about what I’ll include. I don’t take photos of things on private property, or of people, or of things in cars. I feel like this would be an invasion of privacy as the people involved are very rarely there to ask permission. 

But I have been very intrigued by someone I see on a regular basis, mostly for a behavior I have spotted him engage in. He seems to like to hang around by a pedestrian crossing which isn’t far from the local train station, and you can often see him kind of ‘standing watch’. There is a coffee shop with outside tables close by, and sometimes he sits there instead. A few weeks ago I was waiting at the crossing and a car raced through is, continuing along the high street at high speed. It’s a busy area, frequented by families and clusters of kids going to school, so speeding here is especially dangerous.

I saw our guy jump up and pull a note book from his pocket and try to write down the number plate. The car went too fast and he quickly replaced the notebook in his pocket with noticeable frustration. This little action really intrigued me. As far as I can see he is not a member of any official neighbourhood policing project, and it’s not the first time I’ve seen him involve himself if situations that may relate to that kind of thing.

I find this really intriguing. What does he think he’s doing? Why is he doing it?

I’m not a huge fan of creative exercises, so it’s not my habit to tell people what to do with these prompts. There are lots of options – a scene, some flash fiction, a short story, an idea for a short film or a physical piece of art. If you do have a go with this one and would like to drop the result in the comments please do so. I would be very interested to see what people make of these.

Thank you for reading. I also write, make art and films. If you like these prompts and want to get a copy of a free short book of them I wrote, and to hear more about my writing projects please join my mailing list here. You can see my films at my YouTube channel here. You can see things with my designs on at my shop here. Could even treat yourself if you wanted to. Just saying. If buying art is not your thing, but you would like to support what you see I also have a Patreon Page here.

One-Time
Monthly
Yearly

Like my work but none of the above options appeal? You may want to consider a one off donation instead.

Make a monthly donation

Make a yearly donation

Choose an amount

£2.00
£5.00
£10.00
£2.00
£5.00
£10.00
£5.00
£10.00
£15.00

Or enter a custom amount

£

Your contribution is appreciated.

Your contribution is appreciated.

Your contribution is appreciated.

DonateDonate monthlyDonate yearly

Creative Prompt (neighbourhood intrigue series #1): Love Note

One of the things I find myself doing when I’m out and about is puzzling about things that I see that seem a bit odd, or intriguing. For creatives I think there can be great benefits in trying to practice a kind of mindful curiosity where ever you are, no matter how mundane or suburban that place may seem. Seeing a hint of something when you will only ever know part, or indeed nothing of the actual situation can give a creative mind free reign to invent something new.

Over the next few weeks I’m going to publish a collection of creative prompts that are based on some of the tiny neighbourhood intrigues that I have noticed over the last few months.

I saw this note on the pavement in the street outside my house. I didn’t open it or read what was inside as I felt this would be an invasion of privacy, and so I do not know who it was for, or what is said. But I was very taken with the little hand drawn heart on the folded flap. Someone had taken care when making this note.

It made me wonder how it ended up on the pavement, looking like it has been casually discarded. Had it been dropped by mistake, or thrown away? Who had written the note? What does it say? Did the person it was written for ever read it? What did they say?

I’m not a huge fan of creative exercises, so it’s not my habit to tell people what to do with these prompts. There are lots of options – a scene, some flash fiction, a short story, an idea for a short film or a physical piece of art. If you do have a go with this one and would like to drop the result in the comments please do so. I would be very interested to see what people make of these.

Thank you for reading. I also write, make art and films. If you like these prompts and want to get a copy of a free short book of them I wrote, and to hear more about my writing projects please join my mailing list here. You can see my films at my YouTube channel here. You can see things with my designs on at my shop here. Could even treat yourself if you wanted to. Just saying. If buying art is not your thing, but you would like to support what you see I also have a Patreon Page here.

One-Time
Monthly
Yearly

Like my work but none of the above options appeal? You may want to consider a one off donation instead.

Make a monthly donation

Make a yearly donation

Choose an amount

£2.00
£5.00
£10.00
£2.00
£5.00
£10.00
£5.00
£10.00
£15.00

Or enter a custom amount

£

Your contribution is appreciated.

Your contribution is appreciated.

Your contribution is appreciated.

DonateDonate monthlyDonate yearly

Creative Prompt: Space Blanket

One of our neighbours is having a loft conversion. The house is across the street from us and on a daily basis we can see the progress being made. I’m not exactly sure on the shape of the conversion, as the work is happening to the part of the roof that faces away from us, but we have amused by the rather casual approach to health and safety on the part of the builders in their day to day work.

A few weeks ago they filled a skip with old bits and pieces from the house as well as left over materials from their work on the conversion. As the level in the skip rose I didn’t see too much to interest me in there, although a couple of the other neighbours did have a poke about for useful left overs. Once the skip was full, they started piling things around and about it, I guess hoping that as other people took bits out, they would be able to fit more things in.

I saw this shiny material one day after it had rained quite a lot. I think it is some kind of insulation, although I am not entirely sure. It reminded me of some of the fabrics they used to use on episodes of Star Trek (I’m thinking Next Generation here, but the principle probably applies more broadly than that), where people would wrap themselves is improbably shiny blankets or wear outfits covered in sequins. It certainly has a space age feel to me, which made it stand out in our rather mundane suburban street.

Maybe the loft conversion is a cover, and someone is quietly building a rocket ship in our street?

I’m not a huge fan of creative exercises, so it’s not my habit to tell people what to do with these prompts. There are lots of options – a scene, some flash fiction, a short story, an idea for a short film or a physical piece of art. If you do have a go with this one and would like to drop the result in the comments please do so. I would be very interested to see what people make of these.

Thank you for reading. I also write, make art and films. If you like these prompts and want to get a copy of a free short book of them I wrote, and to hear more about my writing projects please join my mailing list here. You can see my films at my YouTube channel here. You can see things with my designs on at my shop here. Could even treat yourself if you wanted to. Just saying. If buying art is not your thing, but you would like to support what you see I also have a Patreon Page here.

One-Time
Monthly
Yearly

Like my work but none of the above options appeal? You could consider a one off donation instead. I would really appreciate it.

Make a monthly donation

Make a yearly donation

Choose an amount

£2.00
£5.00
£10.00
£2.00
£5.00
£10.00
£5.00
£10.00
£15.00

Or enter a custom amount

£

Your contribution is appreciated.

Your contribution is appreciated.

Your contribution is appreciated.

DonateDonate monthlyDonate yearly

Creative prompt: Toaster on the street

I saw this toaster near my local train station. We live in an area that seems to be particularly attractive to fly tippers, and I often see electrical items dumped on the street. Fridges seem to be particularly popular, although by the time I often see them they have been covered with all sorts of other rubbish and are less attractive to me for a photo.

It was relatively early in the morning, and there was bright sunshine streaming over the top of the toaster when I took this, giving it the feel of a new thing, even though it clearly isn’t. I quite like this kind of scene for its idea generating potential. You have something domestic, that really belongs inside a kitchen, sitting on the pavement outside. It is often the juxtaposition of a familiar thing or situation, set against an environment that is mismatched that can lead to the association of two thoughts that may not have gone together before. This can be a fruitful way of generating new story concepts.

What happens in the brain is that two areas of cortex that were previously not really associated with each other, are bought together briefly, and in that moment a new association can form. New ideas may spring from there. I’ve written a bit more about this in the resource I put together for my newsletter subscribers (which you can join here, should you want to).

I’m not a huge fan of creative exercises, so it’s not my habit to tell people what to do with these prompts. There are lots of options – a scene, some flash fiction, a short story, an idea for a short film or a physical piece of art. If you do have a go with this one and would like to drop the result in the comments please do so. I would be very interested to see what people make of these.

Thank you for reading. I also write, make art and films. If you like these prompts and want to get a copy of a free short book of them I wrote, and to hear more about my writing projects please join my mailing list here. You can see my films at my YouTube channel here. You can see things with my designs on at my shop here. Could even treat yourself if you wanted to. Just saying. If buying art is not your thing, but you would like to support what you see I also have a Patreon Page here.

One-Time
Monthly
Yearly

Like my work but none of the above options appeal? You may want to consider a one off donation instead.

Make a monthly donation

Make a yearly donation

Choose an amount

£2.00
£5.00
£10.00
£2.00
£5.00
£10.00
£5.00
£10.00
£15.00

Or enter a custom amount

£

Your contribution is appreciated.

Your contribution is appreciated.

Your contribution is appreciated.

DonateDonate monthlyDonate yearly

Creative Prompt: Lost on the highway

I’m sorry this week’s prompt is late. I’ve been quite unwell recently and seem to be struggling to recover completely. I took a day yesterday to try to relax a bit.

I saw this toy pony in the road while I was on may way somewhere. It had been left right in the middle of the road and was amongst a pile of other bits of rubbish. I normally wouldn’t try to take a photo of something in the middle of the road, but it was early in the morning and there were no cars about so I darted across for a quick snap.

There is something about the shock of the coloured hair against the damp grey of the tarmac that I find interesting. When I was a child this brand of toys were chunkier and less colourful. I did not have many because I was more interested in making things than playing with the kind of toys people seemed to design for girls back then. Things haven’t changed much to be honest!

I am wondering how it got there? Is this a lost little toy, dropped by a passing child, or has it been abandoned during a clear out or house move? Maybe this brave little pony has set out on an adventure of its own?

I’m not a huge fan of creative exercises, so it’s not my habit to tell people what to do with these prompts. There are lots of options – a scene, some flash fiction, a short story, an idea for a short film or a physical piece of art. If you do have a go with this one and would like to drop the result in the comments please do so. I would be very interested to see what people make of these.

Thank you for reading. I also write, make art and films. If you like these prompts and want to get a copy of a free short book of them I wrote, and to hear more about my writing projects please join my mailing list here. You can see my films at my YouTube channel here. You can see things with my designs on at my shop here. Could even treat yourself if you wanted to. Just saying. If buying art is not your thing, but you would like to support what you see I also have a Patreon Page here.

One-Time
Monthly
Yearly

Like my work but none of the above options appeal? You could consider a one off donation instead. I would really appreciate it.Make a one-time donation

Make a monthly donation

Make a yearly donation

Choose an amount

£2.00
£5.00
£10.00
£2.00
£5.00
£10.00
£5.00
£10.00
£15.00

Or enter a custom amount

£

Your contribution is appreciated.

Your contribution is appreciated.

Your contribution is appreciated.

DonateDonate monthlyDonate yearly