Building Blocks (snippet images…)

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Time molds vivid memories from one’s past into the building blocks of one’s writing…

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Recently I discovered the blog Seen in Baltimore, where pmoyo posts everyday life pictures of Baltimore, and I thought about the smaller images of life that can become part of our writings.  While, for the most part, my stories are not set in a particular city, nevertheless, I obviously use images from my past in them.  Today’s Building Blocks is about those unrelated to ‘life stories’ snippet images from our pasts, that for some reason stay in our brains.

For example, the dark and edgy flash fiction story The Elevator started forming when I thought, ‘air travel has gone to hell’, and crystallized when the image of the outdoor elevator I pass when I park on the upper deck at Dulles International Airport started revisiting my brain.

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In my novel Through a Stranger’s Eyes Dave, while taking Breen on a tour of the, albeit fictional, city he lived in when they first met, says:

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“See that building over there?  It was once a firehouse; from the 1920’s, hook and ladder, that’s why it’s long and narrow.  I had visions of turning it into a restaurant…La Firehouse.”

“What kind of food, French?”

“No idea, just wanted to make it into a restaurant and La Firehouse sounded good.”

Breen laughed and shook her head.

“You seem to shake your head a lot when I tell you things.”

“Definitely things; most definitely things,” as she shook her head again.

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Yep, I actually had that real life inspiration every time I would pass this, now former, firehouse at 700 North Eutaw Street in Baltimore.  It opened January 7, 1860 as Engine 7; the steeple and bell were removed in 1905, it closed in 1991, and is now a homeless shelter (picture and information thanks to Mike Legeros’ Historic and Former Baltimore Firehouses).

Former Baltimore City firehouse at 700 N. Eutaw St.  Picture Mike Legeros.

Former Baltimore City firehouse at 700 N. Eutaw St. Picture Mike Legeros.

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One day in 2004, while driving to work I saw something that periodically jumps back into the spotlight of consciousness.  I recently used that image in the life and love flash fiction piece The Road Traversed.

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The sun is just wakening to address the day, as a coyote, with head raised, walks along the road towards our car; owns the world soon to be dawned.  The coyote cares nothing for the cars that pass.  These are the suburbs and to the average ‘city folk’ he is but another stray pooch.

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What recurring snippets are dancing around in your mind that beg to be used in your writing?

Think about your ‘building blocks’; we can not write without them.

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Through a Stranger’s Eyes (2005), The Elevator (2011), and The Road Traversed (2013) are copyrighted by Steven S. Walsky, all rights reserved.

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8 thoughts on “Building Blocks (snippet images…)

  1. What a great building – that firehouse. Steeple and bell are gone; I wonder if they left the pole in. I looked at your link, and I was surprised by the similarity of the style of the buildings – tall and narrow.

    As always, enjoyable building blocks, Steven. My new series has quite a few throwbacks to growing up with my family. My mother said that reading about my main character’s family interactions reminded her of our family and made her laugh. I never really thought much about the building blocks until you pointed them out. I think about them all the time now. 🙂

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