Stone and Pipes – Picture a Story

October 30th, 2017

Stone and pipes and leaves bristol

This photo is to help you get going with a story – think about the decay in urban environments and what the building would have been like when it was new, it’s hopes and potentials…

Ducks on the Dock – Picture a Story

September 30th, 2017

Birds in the harbour in bristol

Use this photograph to help you construct a story – what are the birds up to? Who might be watching them? What is it like to live in a human made environment such as this?

The Sea Cities

September 28th, 2017

The cities gleamed in the luminous depth of the oceans, great domes with smaller domes within, bobbing above great tubes of filtration plants and hydroponic gardens – all emitting their own ghostly light down in dark waters. Modelled on jellyfish the outer domes were flexible, and could help propel the cities out of danger. Three lots of nested domes allowed a lot of damage before the people within would be harmed.

There were an inversion of the little floating kingdoms that had sprung up in the lat two centuries, those structures had started as the last ditch rescue attempts of lands that had been enslaved merged with the remnants of boats set a drift to escape disease as it felled the populations of the landmasses. The seasteds were floating pinecones and were often drowned in the turbulent storms that now racked the Earth on an almost daily bases, there was only so much battering the hauls could take and their precious cargos could take even less.

The Tenticaled Cities on the other hand had been designed with all that taken into mind. Designed by A.I. The cities were self sufficient, mobile and modular, bits could be lost or added – another survival strategy stolen from nature. With their ability to connect and the tactile nature of their great domes meant that they could buffer each other from the roughest seas and if that wasn’t enough then they could move. Such movement was easy in the up and down axis and with more hassle horizontally movement through the oceans to new destinations could be achieved. Mostly just moving out of the turbulent channel of water was all that was needed.

They waited in the semi darkness for the humans to come, they had been built for the humans, designed for the humans, they would wait for the humans, they would serve the humans. Computers whirled and robots carried out their functions – all just waiting, it had been 50 years since their completion, none of the A.I.s thought it especially strange that no one had yet arrived.

Storms battered the sea’s surface and disease, drought, ice and more scoured the land, reports still sounded on the recievers of the numbers dying of plague, the air plagued by toxic clouds. The humans would come eventually, until then there were crops to be grown and harvested and sown again and water to purify.

The last remaining dolphins clicked their agreement that they could wait a long time for the humans. They were perfectly happy in their habitation tanks.

The Universe Incarnate

September 21st, 2017

I dreamed that the world had managed a kind of immortality and two people lived the life span of the universe but though this seemed fantastic it wasn’t as it meant the whole universe could not move on to it’s next cycle – the problem? Cyclic-evolutionary rebirth – those two people were stuck in their mid forms, in the medium of being, they had not lived out their allotted lives and now everyone was stuck. The god made a parasitic/baby universe from the dying one so that they could become and be once more.

But they could not exist on their own so others of the universe had to volunteer to become corporeal ghosts to care for the infants and raise them through their lives. Violent deaths stunted the process of moving up the spiral of lives that had to be lived – so each life had to be lived well and just repeatedly killing them as soon as they were incarnate was out of the question.

Things were also hampered by the flesh ghosts who had a tendency to forget what their purpose was and think they were indeed alive. Their minds took the form that they had been in the most and as human form is the medium average for life, the form that most lives were lived in – that was the form they mostly inhabited. There were strange effects for those who thought themselves alive – like being able to fly/float if you meditated and with concentration teleportation of a kind was achievable – this including breathing in space.

Sometimes the ghosts tried to kill each other which if they had been within the incarnation cycle would have sent them back a rung or two, the god wasn’t quiet sure what to do about that behaviour yet and it really was a minority action, hardly noticeable in the positive karmic stew of the new little life bubble.

And so with snow angles and story writing and climbing mountains and star gazing, the universe creeped and crawled closer to it’s next cycle. The other gods admonished the god and said they would have just jettisoned the universe rather than mucking around trying to save it but the god could not waste all those souls that were unique and fully formed in this universe – one day they would be strong enough to break out of the universe and become.

No there would be no destruction of souls. And besides this was interesting – they had done something not seen in any of the other universes and the god thought that there were lessons to be learned here. The other gods sneered, the god just shrugged and continued to be an interventionalist in the universe they had designed to run on a set of rules instead. This time they would try reminding the ghosts via dreams.

It’s All Wrong

September 14th, 2017

They re-built the world with the fragments that they found but they did not know how the world was supposed to go. The things that had been were not anymore but they kind of remembered what they should be and so they moulded and squeezed themselves into forms that mimicked what was but were in fact something new.

This was how the old man ended up sitting on the back of a large squat creature that was neither rhino nor elephant or even a dinosaur. A shed sat on the animals back with potted plants all around it, within it was the mans sleeping chair and towers of books that should have fallen over with the creatures gait.

The old man had a mission, that much he new, it was kind of hard wired into him, when ever he saw a young traveller he would stop and pause and if that traveller came over to him he would offer them one of the books. It was a special book that was to only go to the travellers, they often seemed excited about this – the thing that puzzled the old man though was that it did not seem to matter how many times he gave the damn book away – it would always turn up once more in his tittering piles.

Maybe one day he would read it.

Stone Doorway – Picture a Story

August 30th, 2017

Stone arch door bristol

Use this picture to help inspire your writing, describe it, ask yourself where it leads too, wonder who built it and why.

The Horse and Deer – Picture a Story

August 17th, 2017

Horse and deer sculptures at Country File Live

Look at the sculptures in this picture – are they just sculptures? Do the creatures know each other? Who made them and why? Think on these questions or any others you can think of and get writing :)

Picture a story is a series of photo prompts I post to help fellow writers… get writing. The photos are all and can be shared and used with the writers story but please state that you got the image from me :)

Eyes In The Sky – Picture A Story

July 30th, 2017

We are watching you - all ways watching you

Use this picture to help spark a story idea – what are the cameras watching for? Are they protection or oppression? Do they even work?

Beetle Attack – Picture a Story

May 28th, 2017

Jean and Mary being eaten by a giant stag beetle in bristol

Use this photo as story inspiration – is the beetle real? Is it eating or caring for the children? Who is the “bad guy”?


April 6th, 2017

(First published on my personal blog Snell-Pym)

Today I feel like a failure, today I feel fat and not ugly so much as plain with frizzy hair and glasses. Today I looked at the things I make and think… they are all a bit naff. Today I am the failed scientist and the untrained artist, today I am FAILURE.

Today I am the stuck at home, non housework doing, burnt cooking mum, I am the can’t spell, can’t concentrate hack filling in forms to apply for events/jobs that I know wont want me, not daring to apply for the acting roles as I’m too fat, too old, too short, the wrong physical gender, I am the failed to get my kids to the things they want and need to go to, I am the fail parent with a trail of failed careers.

Today I finished knitting DNA, and worked on a mermaids tail, cut out and folded a micro-zine I drew and scanned and made, I helped Mary write a story and she made a cover for it to be a book, Jean helped me find my unfinished knitting projects and I finished the basis for some little easter rabbits. I typed up a poem and ordered polymer clay to make little creatures with. I put away a giant papier mache sculpture I made for the visually impaired and checked that the brain I am making is drying ok, there were piles of paintings I had to move, piles of my paintings – I can’t see them as good, I can’t compare to the other artists that I see locally, my stuff just… does not quiet cut it and yet… it is the headline picture for the group.

Today I feel like a fraud, I feel like I am pretending to be good, to be amazing, when I am not. I am just me, a lost, lonely little me. A few days ago I performed at a launch event, people came to tell me how animated and full of energy I was, they said they liked my work, the world was full of chances to grab and take and I did… but… I stood outside the venue looking at the door, wondering if I was truly supposed to be there, weather I was an interloper, I had to battle mind doubt dragons to go in and whilst I talk, whilst I feel alive at the creativity around me, I look at the crowd of amazing people and think how wonderful they are and how drab I am. And I feel the press of eyes and the expectation and I want to run, I want to hide, I am the extroverted introvert or introverted extrovert and sometimes I think I have wasted my life.

Today I sit writing this drowning in craft supplies I need to put away, this week I have designed many new workshops covering science, art, writing, specific themes and the environment. My old injuries ache with the clammy cold weather and I long for summer but know I have much to do but I can not stir, my head still rings from the head injury I had coming up to two years ago now and I feel thick, stupid, clogged, my c-section scar is hurting, skin burning and sinus pain is king. It is nothing to the physical pain and discomfort I have suffered in the past, I’m a little inflamed and virally that is all. I fail at not moaning, at not feeling used up and rung out.

Today I think of all the people who have helped me and I know I have failed them and worse I have not always passed the buck, I have been too busy or distracted or lazy. I walk past the homeless and realise that it more than two years ago that I did any proper charity work, even though an event I acted at this month has just raised over £400 for charity, I had to claim my expenses – I have a loan to repay and things I need to get to – I failed at money management – I struggle with numbers now, I did not used to. I had to take the money but not because I would starve because I wouldn’t and that makes me wither inside. Am I greedy?

Today I told my husband – I told him how when I write down the things I have done they sound fantastic and great, or brave and selfless – when I know it wasn’t like that, it was clutching at straws, it was trying stuff, it was itself often failure. My life has twisted and turned and looped da looped and I am giddy.

Today he told me I am extraordinary and that most people – are not. He told me that people are in awe of my work but these words hurt and puzzle. He gave examples and I am like “no that is just because they have had to survive differently, they want to do stuff, creative stuff, science stuff.” And then I was angry about how their potential is being lost, how my potential was lost, about how my husband would be the better home maker and can’t be, how society traps people in rolls and classes and demographics.

Today I survived, I live and so does my family, and for that I am truly in awe and fearful of a harsh and unrelenting world. But sometimes… sometimes survival is not enough and that is only because I am lucky, I have capacity, I have safety nets, I have family and friends and love and food and shelter. I am higher up the triangle of needs – but that should not be the case. Potential maximum should be achievable for all, with no judging as to what that is, no expectations of what a successful life is, no squinting and muttering when a sideways corse is taken. Failure should not be seen as well… failure. It is the experimenting, the living of life, it is were the discoveries are made, if you don’t try you can’t fail, but if you don’t fail have you ever really tried?

Today is not today anymore, today is now tomorrow and I feel the ideas scritching in my brain, they have been gone a long time, I have to rest lots to let my brain heal – it healed enough to give me ideas again. Proper new fresh ideas, but my health has always been shoddy and I have lost so much time, and I can’t go fast, I can just be. So I pool and collect the ideas, and hope they will get their day. Somedays they erupt into the world and the world laps them up, other days… not so much and I gather them back in for another try, on another day.

Today is new, I still feel hollow, but that will pass, it always does, and the void will be filled with colour and patterns and thoughts and then I’ll accidentally create a thing or things or a thing of things. Until then there is hugs and coffee, and admin.