We've been living in the shadow of a blazing mountain this week. I am lucky to be far enough away not to be too worried about my family. But close enough for the views to be sobering, chilling and awe-inspiring. I actually have friends up there, but no one has lost property or anything more valuable. It's a crazy thing.
The fire, however, has also been something else–and it's only this for me because people have not been hurt and homes have not been burned. It's been a trigger for creativity. The images that have come out of this event have been pretty spectacular. And they have piqued my brain. Made my story-telling synapses want to build words and worlds up around the pictures I've seen. I'm not talking about straight forward stories about mountain fires; I mean stories that take what the images look like and run with them.
For instance, this:
It's one of the many night-shots of the blaze. But it could also be a volcano rumbling on the Big Island. Or the destruction of a city at the hands of an evil sorcerer. Or the birth of a new world.
Instead of being the first plumes of smoke as the fire really got going, it could be a nuclear attack in a thriller (a teeny weeny one). An explosion in a chemical plant which was actually triggered by the corrupt plant owners as a means of trying out a new antidote they've been developing. A cloud hiding the mother ship. Or Hera rising up from the earth to find the mortal in this little town who trapped her there.
How 'bout this:
This shows the results of remarkable efforts by our firefighters to save peoples' homes and lives. But what if it was the story of a safe-house that could not be destroyed? Maybe because of who was inside. Or a story of the last people on earth? Or perhaps a time traveling house that has landed far into a dystopian future? Maybe it's even a story about that little tree there on the right; the only one left standing.
I think there are stories absolutely everywhere. And pictures do paint a thousand words. Maybe looking at them a bit sideways, a bit out of the box, will light up that story you've had sitting on your brain's back-burner.
Er . . . tactless puns not intended. Really.