Carolina Pichardo : Zhujiajiao (Shanghai, China) Photo Writing Prompts
Zhujiajiao (Shanghai, China) Photo Writing Prompts
By Carolina Pichardo
In the ancient town of Zhujiajiao, a small region located in suburbs of Shanghai China, there are stories marinating the river that borders this "Water Town." The architecture especially is endowed with its history, which dates back to the Ming and Qing Dynasty, as are the merchants that sell everything from zongzi (a famous, culinary treat made of glutinous rice and bamboo leaves) to pearls. Whether it's the locals fishing, playing chess or simply walking along the boardwalk, it is reminiscent (and rightfully so) of the beautiful scenery of found in Venice.
These pictures should ignite a feel of the city and people. Simply follow your instincts. Like the flow of that river, write the first rush of words that come to mind. There are different ways of going about the prompts, whether doing them all at once (forming one strong narrative) or doing each one individually (the ones that are most compelling to you). It is good to remember that the people of China are a strong reminder of how one must be with nature and our surroundings coherent, respectful and mindful of its force.
Writing Prompt 1:
These boats are a strong element of Zhujiajiao, allowing for visitors to get on board and travel through the many channels and bridges of the region. They resemble the old fishing boats that were once the city's main source of income. If you could take this boat and travel anywhere, where would you go?
Writing Prompt 2:
In China, art is considered a strong vocation, rather than a simple interest or pastime, as in other areas of the world. This man demonstrates his beautiful life's work, which entails carving difficult pictures and designs on a wooden tablet. With a pen or pencil (maybe even a crayon), embody this man and try to write something as intricate as the design on this picture.
Writing Prompt 3:
Although this is no longer a method of supporting families and communities, this local man is absorbed in his pastime fishing along Zhujiajiao's river. Make him a character in a story by answering the following: What is he thinking? Why is he fishing alone? You can go on and ask yourself more questions about this character.
Writing Prompt 4:
Temples like this adorn the Zhujiajiao area, with many insisting on foretelling your future and fulfilling your wishes. If you visited one of these temples, what would you wish for and why? What if the temple's overseer gave you a horrible reading, and was nothing from what you were expecting to hear? What do you fear the most from one of these readings?
Writing Prompt 5:
These young adults were lined up in an empty parking lot, and were marching and chanting along with an adult (who walked along inspecting the youngsters' movements and posture). What do you think they are preparing to do?
Writing Prompt 6:
In entering the Kehzi Garden, you are greeted with this horse-like structure. What do you expect to see upon walking through that entrance? Develop a story surrounding this garden, and the intricacies that it possibly entails from the animals, trees and plants that live in this enchanting place.
Writing Prompt 7:
This woman, much like many of the people that live within this area, depends on this river. Whether to wash the dishes, clothes or fish, it is an important aspect of Zhujiajiao. What if this body of water suddenly disappeared or was destroyed in some way?
Writing Prompt 8:
This picture shows the living conditions of the people in Zhujiajiao. Since the area is small and narrow, there is little room for rebuilding and repairing, which is the reason much of the ancient architecture still stands today. Describe a normal day in the life of this woman. What does her day consist of?
Writing Prompt 9:
Making the most out of limited and basic necessities is a constant lesson taught by the people of this town. This man creates a strong rope out of thin threads. What do you think it would be used for?
© 2007 Carolina Pichardo. All rights reserved.
Carolina Pichardo is a freelance writer, editor and mother based in Washington Heights/Inwood, New York City. More »