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Showing posts from January, 2016

Writing Prompt 18

First, 

The famous depiction of Tennyson’s poem the Lady of Shallot by John William Waterhouse is a story from the medieval times about a lady who was cursed to stay alone in a tower weaving all her life. She could not leave the tower for that would lead to her death. She could not look out at the world, but could only see reflections of the world, so there she saw Sir Lancelot. At the sight of Sir Lancelot, she decided to leave the tower and go by boat down the river to the city of Camelot. She brought the curse upon her, and she died on the way there. A sad story indeed, but it tells us a lot about the miserable life of many women in the world today as it has been the case forever.
But,

How many women are confined in the boundaries of four walls with the sole purpose of pleasing her husband, having children and taking care of the family for all her life? The only moment she has more free time for herself is when her children grow older and leave the house, and her husband becomes imp…

Writing Prompt 17

First, Look at the famous painting by Eugene Delacroix, Liberty Leading the People, and think about the glorious days of the French Revolution or the bloody days of the French Revolution. It is up to you to decide, but consider this: How much blood should be spilled to teach the world to stop spilling blood in vain? How much is this endeavor in vain? Do we have the right to kill for liberty? Does liberty dictate being written in blood? Look at what’s happening in the world today, and if you have the time, look at all our history, the history of mankind; is there any age without being suppressed? Have we survived any period in history without oppression and a lot of righteous causes to kill? Aren’t we the only animals left on this planet with this insatiable lust for blood? Aren’t we the only animals who take their liberty so seriously that the death of thousands of people does not matter, and the bodies of brothers and foes alike fall as if paving the way for some new tyranny? Lib…

Writing Prompt 16

First, What is the woman looking at while this man is totally absent-minded and looking at his reflection in the pond? This famous depiction of Echo and Narcissus by John William Waterhouse is a great example of a story of one-sided love, or loving one’s self too much to ever have the ability to love anyone else. But, What might the woman be thinking about? Is she blaming the man for having rejected her, or for not even looking at her? Does he even know she is there? Why would a man reject a woman like that? What is the impact of his rejection on her, as on any other woman? Then... Imagine the man’s broken after he saw her with another man, and now he cannot look at her face anymore and has learned to love himself more and care only for himself. Would that be fair to all the other women he will see in his life? Might she be one of these wronged other women? I can feel many ideas for a poem already coming out of this painting… So... Sometimes, a man is torn between what he wan…

Writing Prompt 15

First, For how many reasons in the history of humankind were children killed, whether directly like this image or as collateral damage. What cause could be more important than reflecting on what we do and who we leave behind our trail of glory, helpless and dead?
But, Getting deeper into this painting and for a moment away from the exact moment in history it depicts, we can look at the woman in the middle, put ourselves in her shoes, and think about what she might be feeling while her child or children were taken away from her for some stupid political reason. At that moment, how can a sacrifice be justified at all? There is nothing you can tell this woman that will ever make her feel better. What could she have done? Could she have planned a revolution—a first revolution of women in a society of men? Maybe, that can be a lead into a bigger story than the one, we see in this picture.
Then... We can take the political part of the painting away and think only about the em…

Writing Prompt 14

First, The painting by Caravaggio is about a beautiful widow named Judith decapitating the head of Holofernes. The story, in short, is that she tried to do what her countrymen could never do. She used her charms to get close to General Holofernes, and one night when she was allowed in his tent and while he was drunk she decapitated him and took his head back to her fearful people. As a result of her daring act, the Assyrians dispersed due to the loss of their leader and Judea stayed free. Judith was later courted by many men but never married for the rest of her life, as the story says. But, What could be in common between the transfixing charms of a beautiful woman like Judith and the heart of a hero in having the guts to decapitate the head of the snake, General Holofernes? How could a woman be so beautiful and so lethal at the same time? When you look at the painting and hear the story, does this give you Goosebumps? As a man, do you fear a woman like Judith, or would you love t…

Writing Prompt 13

First, Inspired by Rene Magritte’s surrealism, we have the opportunity with this great painting to think about the realism behind it. How many men kiss women dreaming of kissing someone else, and vice versa? What are the minimum standards of a loveable person these days? How big should the lips, the breast, the six-packs be? How long should the eyelashes be? What should the skin tone be? How much are we seeing beyond the flesh, or are we even looking in the first place? Is love forbidden to the ordinary-looking person? Is a true love kiss that way out of reach? But, The sheets on the faces act like masks we use every day to hide a person we might not feel so proud of. Are the sheets kissing in this painting? Has it ever occurred to you that this is who I am and to hell with who likes the way I look or not? Or do you lean more towards ‘Am I lean enough?’ ‘Am I tall enough?’ ‘Am I muscular enough?’ or ‘Am I sexy enough?’ And you waste your life trying to feel worthy when you have …

Writing Prompt 12

First, Roman Charity is the exemplary story of a woman, Pero, who secretly breastfeeds her father, Cimon after he is incarcerated and sentenced to death by starvation. She is found out by a jailer, but her act of selflessness impresses officials and wins her father’s release. Maybe, I shouldn’t have told you the story of the painting, but I just mentioned it so that we can drift away from the original story.
But, What is your own explanation of what is happening in this picture. After all, it is a woman breastfeeding a full-grown man. Is it unacceptable under any circumstances? Can you imagine any other scenario (other than the original story above) that might justify what you see in the picture?
Then... What if they were lovers, so there might be a love story happening behind bars and who knows what might he have done to get there. She stayed faithful to him, but the guards have seen them kissing and making out and who knows what they might do. What might have happened bef…

Writing Prompt 11

First, This painting is talking about the birth of the goddess Venus, but we might want to look at it today as the birth of a woman; how do we see a woman today and when do we decide she has become a woman? Is it only when we see the sight of a bosom growing or the other delicacies needed for a girl to be called a woman? But, Look at the people next to Venus and you will see that some are trying to cover her to keep people from looking at her naked, and some are attempting to blow the wind to remove the little hair that is still covering the rest of her body; this might be one way to look at it. If so, does that remind you of some people in our society who try to protect women and some others who only want to see them naked? Then... The current prototype of a woman in a good shape with long blond hair and what not is well-portrayed in this painting. Maybe, Botticelli did it because he was portraying Venus, after all, the goddess of beauty and love. However, this might jus…

Writing Prompt 10

First, What is that you already know about the creation of Adam? Is it that he was the father of man, and indeed the first human in this world? Is it that he was the first man with a message from God? Is it the first symbol of religion that we have in history?
But, What is the relation between Adam and the Creator?
Then... In this painting, you might get the impression that the Creator is reaching out to Adam and not the other way round; He is the one more stretched out, and Adam is the one who is more relaxed. Does that depict the arrogance mankind has?
So... You may think of this painting as the relationship between a father and a son, and build your account on that if you don’t like it to be religious.
What do you do now... Write a short story, or a poem about what you can discern from this painting and share a link to your story with us here on Danny B. You can be generous and share a link to this writing prompt on your website or your social media.

Writing Prompt 09

First, Is death always watching and waiting for the right time to claim our lives? Are we always in its shadow from the moment we are born to the last moment?
But, There are all sorts of people in the face of death as it knows no age or gender? Is it the ultimate just player in this world?
Then... Are these people afraid or oblivious; is it done intentionally that we choose to forget about it to be able to move on with our lives?
So... Are these people all united because of death? Does it have this power to destroy but unite at the same time?
What do you do now... Write a short story, or a poem about what you can discern from this painting and share a link to your story with us here on Danny B. You can be generous and share a link to this writing prompt on your website or your social media.

Writing Prompt 08

First, Who is this woman in the picture? Why is she lying on the grass looking at that house in the horizon? Her name was Christina and her story might be different from what you thought, but it does not matter what the real story was; it only matters what you think it is.
But, Is looking at home from far away and seeking it better than really being home?
Then... Was she thrown out of that house, which has already become past to her, but she still doesn’t want to let go?
So... Was that her lifetime destination, and she fell short of reaching just when it became well in sight? What does it take for this final push to happen?
What do you do now... Write a short story or a poem about what you can discern from this painting and share a link to your story with us here on Danny B. You can be generous and share a link to this writing prompt on your website or your social media.

Writing Prompt 07

First, What can a man say about a very ordinary scene like this? But remember the most important stories come from the most ordinary settings because they can touch everyone.
But, What could the conversation be between these two women while they are washing clothes by the river?
Then... Can you snatch anything that has to do with feminism?
So... Can you imagine what happened before this scene, or after the scene? Can you imagine any surprises coming on the way for these two women?
What do you do now... Write a short story, or a poem about what you can discern from this painting and share a link to your story with us here on Danny B. You can be generous and share a link to this writing prompt on your website or your social media.

Writing Prompt 06

First, Why does this lovely girl at a bar at the Folies Bergere look sad? Isn’t this place where everyone would want to be?
But, The reflection on the mirror is like the reflection into the girl’s mind of all the people in front of her; too busy a place, yet with very little details to differentiate between anyone.
Then... Is this man in the reflection a real man, a customer, or just a fantasy in her mind?
So... If all this fancy stuff and extravagant style does not fill a girl’s heart, what does?
What do you do now... Write a short story, or a poem about what you can discern from this painting and share a link to your story with us here on Danny B. You can be generous and share a link to this writing prompt on your website or your social media.

Writing Prompt 05

First, What is happening in this messy bedchamber, and who might these people be? There is even a horse in there; can that get any stranger?
But, Legend has it that the king, Sardanapalus, after learning of his defeat, ordered his most valuable possessions destroyed and his concubines murdered in front of his own eyes. We can see Delacroix showing some concubines who are begging for mercy. Our quest is not a historical one  unless you want it to be, but how many of these stories have you heard of, or seen, when a king or some kind of leader decides upon his defeat to order the rest of his people to be killed with him? Hitler could have spared the lives of hundreds of thousands of his troops had he surrendered earlier; even after he and everybody else knew he had lost the war. Many things like that still happen.
Then... The usual moral thing we have learned and seen is when a ship is sinking, its captain never abandons it, but in contrast, in many other instances, when the capt…

Writing Prompt 04

First, What is real and what is unreal about this picture?
But, We spend our lives trying to keep track of the time we spend, race against the clock, and get ahead of ourselves most of the time. How sure do we know the next moment is coming? Which is the most cherish worthy, the past, the present, or the future?
Then... What if we could sell or buy time, would that make any difference to our memories?
So... Why cannot people live without memories? even though these are just a fading hazy image of the past, after so many iterations in our mind, we usually make them more beautiful than they really were. Would we create memories if we had none worthy of remembrance?
What do you do now... Write a short story or a poem about what you can discern from this painting and share a link to your story with us here on Danny B. You can be generous and share a link to this writing prompt on your website or your social media.

Writing Prompt 03

First, You might have heard the famous story of Samson and Delilah, and here is a depiction by the famous Peter Paul Rubens. First I recommend you just enjoy this painting!
But, Who are all these people in this painting? For a moment forget about the story, which is not based on literal history anyway, and try to imagine a context for what happened here and what is about to happen.
Then... Was it right for Samson to trust Delilah? Didn’t that lead him to his final doom? Yet, which is better, to lie down for one moment in the arms of someone you love and to let the world burn without a care, or to live all your life careful not fall into a trap like that? Should we still trust people enough to fall in love with them?
So... Do you think Samson knew what was coming, but he came to his lover, anyway? Would you have done the same?
Can I dare to say that love is our greatest strength and greatest weakness at the same time; that love breaks us, tears our hearts apart, humiliat…

Writing Prompt 02

First, You think you know what is happening in this painting? maybe, it is drowning ship and the sailors aboard are looking at the horizon hoping a ship might find and rescue them. But if you look again, you might see more in the Raft of the Medusa by Gericault.
But, Look at the people’s faces. Are they all looking forward to salvation? Do they all believe anything will change if they are rescued or not? Look at the man to the left of the picture holding his dead son? Does it matter to him anymore whether he lives or dies?
Then... How much does this painting look like modern life if we think of it as this raft in the painting? Where do you find yourself on this raft? Is life a crazy journey we are all taking without knowing the consequences of anything we do? Is it as random as the painting depicts?
So... Sometimes, it might be better to stick only to the obvious facts we see; maybe, this is the result of some battle and these men are clinging to hope. Maybe, these are…

Writing Prompt 01

First, How is that clay man similar to our struggle in life? But, What might these marks on his back be made by? Then... Has he jumped off the cliff to the ocean, or has he dropped down dead before getting there? So... His right arm is stretching in vain to touch the waves; was all his life in vain, or was it the journey that all mattered? What do you do now... Write a short story, or a poem about what you can discern from this painting and share a link to your story with us here on Danny B. You can be generous and share a link to this writing prompt on your website or your social media.

Back Home

Little drops we fall, misty all the way down we start to see just when we hit ground;
A whirlwind of thoughts supplanting the person you thought you knew, but you did not—
slipping away in dreams to think you might live up some time away from mayhem outside;
too many voices breaking the air, vibrating like a lonely sheep in one large crowded pen—
no ears, or at least working ones, in a man-heart-black den; why bother open your eyes? Silence among the breaking twigs already dead, a gust of wind stirs the leaves below, arms open like the Christ, not to die to save anyone, but to take life for yourself; the insects stopped their crawl, the birds ceased their flight, and some food left intact— they looked, amidst their world a crazy emerges, so far neither an enemy nor a friend. The next move decides so much the bearing; the world around stood still to comprehend; they listened and watched and understood you are no threat, and on their way they went— the earth around rumbled away from you al…