Allison's Book Bag

Snapshot Meme: Writing Marathon

Posted on: June 28, 2013

Saturday Snapshot invites bloggers to share photos. This week, I’m posting photos taken during a writing marathon.

What is a writing marathon, you might ask? Basically, writers roam a designated area in small groups, pausing to write in 10 to 20 minute sessions, and then share their efforts. This summer, as part of the National Writing Project Technology Institute, I participated in my fourth.

At my first stop, I wrote about students at our university union. Then I switched gears and wrote an imaginary scene for my novel. At the last stop, I wrote about a construction site near the building where our class met.


WritingMarathon_PhotosEveryone has snapped photos of the elephant with the museum behind it. Everyone else captured the explanation sign beside the elephant statue. Everyone has else shared photos that they had taken of their friends posing by the elephant.  Everyone else.

I stood underneath elephant and drew its wrinkles. I stood next to the elephant and admired its uplifted foot; it seemed imposing to me and so the most interesting feature. I stood back from the elephant and squinted so that I could focus on just its eye.

Then I crumpled all those drawings, stuffed them into my pocket, and pretended to take a picture. With the camera I didn’t have. Because my family couldn’t afford one. Even though my mother could afford everything. Because my dad liked that I drew. He’s an artist too.

My writing teacher tells me that life is about details. My art teacher tells me that I never look at the big picture. And my friends tell me life is about them. Or at least that’s what my friends say whose opinion counts. The ones who hold the power. Not the ones who can be trampled on, like whatever was under that elephant’s foot. When my friends and I go to the mall, my friends are too busy posing to care about what the camera captures in the photo booth. Or too busy trying to hide to notice what the camera captures. And I sit in the middle, pulled into the pose, pulled out of the pose, and not really knowing what pose I want.



Something new. Something old. We use those ideas to pick out wedding outfits. Writing guides also use these challenges. So today I am sitting outside a construction site.

Something old. The metal orange and white warning sign is rubbed to silver in the center, with scratches to either side. It is propped crookedly up against a granite cement wall. The shale colored cement walls have cracked and are revealing their thinness and a layer of brick beneath. The granite white towering walls have orange rust and brown water streaks. Of the three vents, one is buckled on the bottom. I can see blue trash, maybe a pen top, through a slit. On the ground is fallen pieces of cement, small ones, next to cigarette butts. What most interests me though requires a closer look. There is a line of black rubber, with white carpet sliced between. It resembles hundreds of sandwiches. Standing next to them, I can see folded paper squeezed into cracks, drifted shards of leaves, and more cigarette butts.

Something new. I don’t suppose anything here is. But the grass is mowed and green. The trees are fat and in full leafy bloom. Branches and leaves lift towards heaven, a sign of vitality and life. A man walks by. A woman bikes by. These are new sights. Under the one tree, with wood scraps under it to keep out leaves are tiny shoots OF green. These would be from the spring. The closest perhaps to new that I am going to find at this construction site, which is all about renovation. Again, I need to take a closer look. The leaves of the weeds are long, narrow, and curved. The older leaves have a second growth, while the newer ones have short stalks. Even their leaves though show the signs of time, with white and brown wilting specks. All around me are things, which young or old, are already beginning to decay.

To find out more about writing marathons, visit the original founders at: New Orleans Writing Marathon

12 Responses to "Snapshot Meme: Writing Marathon"

Great pics and post!

What a wonderful idea! Your photos and writing are so creative. Love this! 🙂

Thanks! I’m glad you enjoyed my photo compositions. 🙂

Cool connections to the photos in your writing exercise!

For this marathon, I drew on description activities from the past year to help me with my descriptions. I felt excited to compare ones from previous years and see a growth in my skill. 🙂

GREAT photos and narration.


Silver’s Reviews
My Saturday Snapshot

Great shots….and I loved the stories with each. I think great photography often zooms in on the details and makes something insignificant into the main event. Thanks for sharing.


This was the first time I took my camera to a marathon. I enjoy having both the written and photo memories.

A writing marathon! How fun is that?! Looks like you had a fabulous time!

Here’s my Saturday Snapshot!

The best part was getting to know more about the ladies with whom I formed a group. Sharing writing is a great way to open up a door to friendship. 🙂

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