sea beach water ocean

Fictography For Old Time’s Sake and as a Teaching Tool: Back Home

sea beach water ocean
Photo by Justus Hayes on


/FICTOGRAPHY/ def. — The intersection of photography (submitted by readers) and fiction (written by me!).

A few years ago, I executed a writing challenge whereby readers submitted travel photos they took, and I would write the story that I imagined went along with that photograph.

Today, as I write this, my students are engaged in an activity that asks them to write using their five senses—and to see where those senses can take them. They smelled something, tasted something, and touched something, and then they used photos and clips of music to spark a story.

When it came to “sight,” I posted three photographs that they could use as the basis for a story. They are required to write what they “see” and describe it, while they also build a story. The one I chose of the three is above, and so I decided to write along with them. Here’s what I came up with…


Izzy stood at the top of the stairs and looked at the stillness of the water. She couldn’t remember the last time she’d been home. She could see her parents’  house in the distance, the way the building curved along the water’s edge with the cliff hovering behind it. Everything looked so colorful: the burnt orange roofs, the blueness of the water, the green landscape surrounding the village. She felt her heart skip a beat as she stood there, wondering how they would respond when they opened the door and saw her standing there with only one suitcase and a purse in her hand.  Everything else was back in London. With him. For now, she was standing in her favorite spot, at the top of the steps, a lamppost serving as a pillar of support, a symbol of the strength she had needed to find her way home. Izzy’s return would certainly be a validation to both her mom and dad: they had been right.

But in her heart of hearts, she knew they would take no pleasure in it. They weren’t those sort of people.

But here she was, back home in the village she had desperately wanted to get away from five years ago, ready to tell her story, because she had the capacity to admit when she made a mistake. She was ready to admit she had been wrong.



Stephanie Verni is the author of Beneath the Mimosa Tree, Baseball Girl, Inn Significant, The Postcard and Other Short Stories & Poetry, and an academic textbook Event Planning: Communicating Theory & Practice, published by Kendall-Huntthat she co-authored with colleagues Leeanne Bell McManus & Chip Rouse.

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