Monday, July 14, 2014

Images and Reality

The newest issue of Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine features one of my stories, "Francetta Repays Her Debt to Society," as well as several other great tales of life on the edge. The image on the cover made me cringe--a woman walks the edge of a razor, to let us know that Joseph D'Agnese's story "Harm and Hammer" will take us to the edge.

I have been mulling over the idea of imagery, and images we use to represent what we do. As a writer I sit at my desk every morning, turn on my MacAir, and begin typing. I don't print anything until I have a complete text to edit on hard copy. If I'm working on a short story I want the entire story, which I will review once or twice on the computer before I print it out. If I'm working on a novel, again I want the entire story in the computer before I begin printing. So why should I mention this?

Image courtesy of Simon Howden/ 
Whenever I come across an article on writing I never blanch or blink at the images used to alert the reader to the topic. The image could just as easily be a quill pen sitting on a sheet of parchment as an old typewriter. I'm less likely to see a computer keyboard or a CPU. Since I only work on a laptop, I don't even see a CPU on most days. The towers that used to sit under my desk, and on which I stubbed my toes every day at least once, don't seem to be iconic enough to tag a story on writing.
Image courtesy of Zoelavie/
Dreamstime Stock Photos
This is pretty peculiar if you think about it. I have yet to notice an article on photography that relies on old cameras of any sort to alert the reader about what is to come. The image is most likely one of the newest models, perhaps one promoted by an advertiser of the site. Another expected image is a photographer with a very fancy lens, the Holy Grail of amateurs and the required equipment for the professional.

Image courtesy of Editorial/
Dreamstime Stock Photos
I don't know why there is this difference between the two art forms. Perhaps taking up a tool to begin writing seems more romantic than other activities, less tied to technological advancement than other artistic endeavors. But then why writing and not painting? If I ran across the image of a man in a beret and smock holding a palette and brush I'd think the designer of the site was mocking artists.

Perhaps the answer lies in the way writers use technology. We have programs to help us plot, and to identify misspellings and grammatical goofs, files to hold research notes located on line, but none of this creates the story. I don't know the answer, but I admit that I love old typewriters and I never mind the images that pop up on the screen to tell the reader, This is about writing!


  1. Hi, Susan,

    I love the photos you've chosen to illustrate your blog. Like you, I think a good writer is an artist creating a vivid picture in the minds of readers.

  2. Hi, Jacquie, I love working with photos for a text. They add a lot, I think. Thanks for commenting.