The following exercise has two parts, and I decided to split it between two different days of writing. However, I have combined them here for you to see together. Enjoy.
“When Rebecca Brown and I taught together in the low-residency M.F.A. program at Goddard College, she took one, and only one, photograph, each day for the twelve days of the residency. Try this yourself for, say, five days.
“Now using the five photographs, describe what is in them and why you took them. Even if you don’t know why, speculate.
“Write about a photograph you would have liked to have taken, but didn’t. Describe the picture that is in your head.”
-Kim Addonizio, “Ordinary Genius”
Before I read this exercise, I had already done half of it. For my sister’s wedding shower I took one picture a day of the preparations and posted it on Facebook for her to wonder about. I will use five of those photos.
Looking inside a Walmart bag, it could almost be a tent. I know I was looking down but the package of 3 colors of tissue paper looks like a floor. The white bag – plastic walls. Perhaps then the orange ribbon is Daddy’s sleeping bag still rolled up. The smaller, purple ribbon, my bag. As for the bag of chocolate chips – it’s just delicious.
So I was trying to keep the details of the party a secret from my sister, Lisa. This is a paper flower with three layers of petals. They were magnets with the bride and groom’s names printed on the leaves. This flower is purple with a green layer. It lies on a carpet, light reflecting off some of the fibers.
Baking day! Stephen, in his Pikachu shirt, was a huge help. Behind him, on the counter, is a plastic container already filled with cookies. Behind him, on the right, the flour jar is empty. On the table chocolate chip cookies cool. Stephen uses a cookie cutter to shape blueberry scones. The white bowl holds more dough.
I hate this picture. It’s lined up wrong and has awkward white space. I was trying to hide the flowers peeking out of the jars. This is what the center of the wedding shower tables looked like. Peeking out of the jar on the right is an ice cream scoop, disguised as a flower. The two mason jars, one wrapped with orange ribbon, the other adorned with bright green tissue paper. It stands out, bright against the white tablecloth and dark background. A beam of sunlight glares from between the jars. A solitary paper flower rests in front of it all.
21 bottles of concentrated lemon juice for 3 gallons of homemade pink lemonade. The yellow bottles, Italia boldly printed at the top, are in three groups. A group per gallon. On a crowded, wooden table. Bread, papers and books line the background. Bottle caps are scattered between lemon shaped bottles.
I didn’t take any photos at the actual shower. I would have taken a wide shot, sucking the whole moment into one frame. All of Lisa’s friends clustered at a white covered table, Devon’s separate mom and step-mom. A long table is filled with snacks and desserts. Another table is covered by presents, many of them large. Each paper a different color and pattern.