When I run F2F courses and one of the sessions is "Finding the Story."
We sit around with a crate of images I've accumulated over the years and we "wander through them" until one or more resonates with us.
It produces stunning stories.
But, having said that, it needs to be a very loose, open, in-the-zone, almost unconscious session (we may have had a drink).
There has to be a certain mood of "wanting to be seduced" by the images.
The worst thing is to see the picture and literally articulate the idea aloud (or in the head), as in:
"Wow, a boy with a puppy. I know, the puppy is his best friend's and..."
That for me kills what the photograph "holds"
Dorothea Brande (I think the book was On Writing or Becoming a Writer) made one very interesting point.
Three writers are walking down a street and we see something.
Say it's a tiny girl in a yellow plastic coat and yellow wellingtons, stretching to reach the knocker on a huge front door."
One of us - just as sensitive a writer - barely notices the kid.
The second writer goes, "Oh, cute kid, I wonder if I could write a story about her?"
But the third is filled up instantaneously with a burning desire to write
Brande argues that what "catches" with us, what grabs our attention, is something that resonates and buzzes within and rekindles some old, deep, well-hidden memory.
I get that feeling most days.
I do it by skimming poetry, looking at covers etc
What I'm doing is NOT thinking, "what shall I write?"
Instead I'm trying to connect with my dark places and asking, "Which story wants to come out today?