Weekly Writing Challenge: Traces
We blog for a million different reasons, but in the end, we’re all storytellers. Creative Writing Challenges are here to help you push your writing boundaries and explore new ideas, subjects, and writing styles.
To participate, tag your post with DPchallenge and include a link to this post, to generate a pingback and help others find the challenges. Please make sure your post has been specifically written in response to this challenge. We’ll highlight some of our favorites on Freshly Pressed on Friday, and in our monthly newsletter.
As individuals and as communities, we have an impact on the world around us, whether we leave our mark by scratching our names in wet cement, or pay homage to those who have come before through small tokens of affection. These symbolic objects and actions leave behind a lasting message.
Last month, I snapped a picture of these flowers at the Evergreen Cemetery in Santa Cruz, California. The cemetery dates back to the 1850s, when Santa Cruz was still a small village. It’s a treasure hidden away from the city center, and houses an intriguing combination of old and new.
While walking around Evergreen, I was surprised to see these flowers sitting in such an old part of the cemetery. The flowers themselves looked relatively old, covered in cobwebs and the dust of late summer pollen, though they had clearly been placed there recently enough to retain some of their beautiful, lavender color.
I couldn’t help but wonder: Who comes to a cemetery that’s over 150 years old to leave a token of affection, like these flowers? What is this person’s connection to this place? Is this a relative, or just a visitor? Have they created their own story for one of the people who rests here, or was this a one-time token of remembrance?
Using the story behind the photo above as a jumping off point for this week’s writing challenge, we want you to talk about leaving your mark. For the fiction-minded, fill in the mystery behind this photograph. Who were these flowers left for? Was there a message included? Is there a mysterious reason why these flowers are covered in dust, but still appear so young?
If you need a few more ideas to get you going, try these suggestions:
- It’s 2,000 years in the future and a team of anthropologists are studying the early 21st century. What symbols of our culture do they find? How do they interpret their meaning?
- Taking a look around you, what three objects most represent you and why? How do their reflect your personality, and who you are?
- As a creative way to connect with those around you, you leave a gift for a stranger in a nearby park/restaurant/library. What do you leave? What message do you include with it?
We’re looking forward to reading your interpretations of what it means to leave your mark, and honor those before you.