Some people use random pictures as writing prompts, but this is something more than that.
Found Polaroids is a Canadian creative project that collects images - mute and yet intensely personal, out-of-date and yet in-the-moment as only a Polaroid can really be - and invites us to write new stories for the nameless people in the photographs, to replace those that have been lost.
It's a fascinating exercise that seems to combine everything from 'dirty realism' and historical fiction to speculative fiction and an element of ghost story. It's biography, except it's not. Detective work, kind of. Archaeology/grave robbing or Frankenstein resurrection. It's about them, but also all about us.
What it is, I think, is an exercise in duality, which is why I've called these quantum state stories: stories in which, like Schrödinger's cat, the characters are both dead and alive, and the observer is an active participant. The project as a whole has a duality, I gather, having evolved from the impulse to track down the real stories behind the Polaroids to embrace the truth of our reaction to them as they are.
Anyway, check out the website and make up your own mind. And if you're interested, the Polaroid I chose, #129, has a particular quantum quality to it. Not just because other writers have supplied alternative possibilities but because the girl's own Polaroid camera appears in the picture. Who was/is she? Why two Polaroids? Who took the picture?
I've been writing for as long as I can remember (I think my first letter was a P). I got a degree writing about other people's writing and ever since then I've earned a living writing commercially, one way or another. But I never stopped writing and refining my own stuff. I just didn't do anything with it, until now.