Have you ever been intent on writing about a specific event but, when you took pen in hand, couldn’t remember enough of the details to make the writing interesting? If so, you’ve come to the right place! Learn how the three writer’s tools in Snaps, Scraps & Snippets of the Past and Present can help you pull the tiniest details from your mind’s camera and develop them into word pictures that can be recorded in any genre and shared over and over again. In addition, find out the difference between a handheld camera – whatever the style, brand, or cost – and your mind’s camera.

With the Olympic Games in full swing, I couldn’t help but step back in time and offer an Olympics-inspired excerpt from Snaps, Scraps & Snippets of the Past and Present (pages 42-43), plus a word picture (poem) derived from images pulled from my own mind’s camera and developed with the help of the snaps, scraps and snippets explained in that book.

On our most recent trip to Australia, for the Sydney 2000 Olympics, my husband and I bought an older model car and traveled up the coast, from Melbourne to Cairns. Along the way, my camera was poised, ready to not miss a single precious moment in time. But I did miss several: a farm woman returning from a sugarcane field with a turned-up apron full of short pieces of cane; a half-grown lamb, down on one knee, nudging milk from its mother’s udder; a three-foot long goanna doubling back into the bush on a mountain road; a seagull halting in midair to scratch its belly; and the list goes on. Since it was impossible to recapture the moments on film, all I could do was capture the images with my mind’s camera and record them as word pictures in my diary, under “Pictures I Missed.” Most of those “pictures” are now being developed for a travelogue in poetry.

Good photographs depend not only on the quality of the film and proper use of the camera, but also on the skill of the photographer to watch for great shots and then have the spontaneity to click the shutter without hesitation. Likewise, good word pictures depend not only on the spontaneity of the writer, but also on proper use of the mind’s camera, through observation and the gathering of images. The difference is that a moment in time missed by the photographer can never be recaptured. No matter what pains he goes to, to reenact the moment, if he fails to get the picture the first time, that moment is lost forever. Not so with the writer whose words can record moments in time, anytime.

Think of your mind as a camera with a memory-sensitive, hair-trigger shutter. It is continually snapping pictures, capturing memories, good or bad, and storing them like microscopic images on film. But the beauty part of this camera is that it comes equipped not only with sophisticated video and audio capabilities, but also with the ability to record touch, taste, and smell, all of which can be described with words. 

That’s not to say that all of our cameras see and record things the same way.  Just as photographers see things differently—some capturing only the main subject, others taking in the entire background or foreground—writers do the same. Give three different writers the same subject on which to elaborate and, chances are, you’ll get three entirely different word pictures.

A “Getting the Picture” exercise can be found on page 44 of Snaps, Scraps & Snippets of the Past and Present: How to Retrieve the Lost Pictures of Your Past.

“Olympic Gold” (below), now a part of my travelogue, is among the many word pictures I have developed using the snaps, scraps and snippets explained in my book:

         Olympic Gold

Sixteen Olympic tickets—

No others quite like these;

A third trip to Australia for

‘Two Thousand’ memories.


They got us into venues

Of wrestling, boxing, track,

Our bold USA banner in

An Aussie haversack.


We walked in rains and rode the trains,

Bought food that wasn’t cheap,

And marching music played as we

Were herded ’round like sheep.


From stadium at Homebush Bay

To Darling Harbour halls:

Four busy days of to-and-fro

Mementos on our walls.


Olympic flame and cauldron burned

Their way into our hearts

While, sitting at the finish line,

We witnessed stops and starts.


Inside one exhibition hall

A pigeon walked our aisle;

Evander Holyfield shook hands,

Though seldom did he smile.


An angel stood at Central,

Promoting peace, good will;

The trains were always right on time

And quickly got their fill.


From Melbourne, north to Cooranbong,

To Sydney’s Games, and more:

Right up the coast to Cairns and back—

A trip we’d made before.


‘Twas I who’d balked at going,

But you who’d said we should;

We met with my old classmates and

Camaraderie was good.


Sixteen Olympic tickets,

Bright gold, with green and blue

Reminders of Two Thousand mem’ries

Shared by me and you.


Copyright 2014  Lois J. Funk


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