Here’s something to get the creative juices flowing! It’s a prompt from the Novel Travelist, a website run by a friend of mine that helps readers turn novels into adventures and helps authors add adventure to their novels. In the post Stories Within Art, Sara writes,

I constantly wonder why some art pieces are endlessly fascinating and why others leave no impression at all?

Why do some paintings entrance me time and time again? Why are other paintings, though skillfully crafted, totally unmemorable? […]

The answer to my question—STORY!

Then, she challenges us to run with the idea and write a paragraph story for one of the paintings she provides. I chose “Florist” by Joseph Christian Leyendecker for Kuppenheimer Style Book, Spring 1920. In college I took a couple of classes (both literature and history) that focused on roughly 1880-1930, the Era of Nouveau, and the art from that time period has always caught my attention. (My favorite painter of all time, for example is John Singer Sargent.) I’ll get to my story in a minute, but before I do, let me challenge you!

Find a painting or photograph that captures your imagination and write a short story about it! It doesn’t have to be long, even a hundred words can a story make. But don’t limit yourself, either: if you’re so inspired, keep writing. I’d love to see what you’ve got in the comments. Include a link to the image you used so that we can all delve into the story with you! Now, here’s my take on “Florist” by Joseph Christian Leyendecker.

“Hold still, will you? How are you going to impress anyone with a crooked boutonniere?”

“But what if you—”

“I’m not going to stick you if you stop moving, you know,” the young woman said. She brushed a few wisps of hair from her face and shifted a little to get a better handle on the small nosegay before she accidentally pricked herself.

“What would I do without you, sis?”

She snorted a very unlady-like little snort. “You’d trip over your own coattails, I’m sure.” She got the boutonniere pinned to her satisfaction and smoothed her brother’s lapels, stepping back, finally, to take a good look at him.

“You might look respectable,” she said.

He took her hand in his, bowed low, and kissed the back of her palm with chaste, dry lips. “Thank you ever so much, my dear. It is, of course, all thanks to you.”

The woman laughed. “Oh, I know. Now stop with the groveling and get on with your evening. Your lady awaits.”

He pulled his sister into a tight hug of thanks before letting her go and taking off down the steps of the little flower shop. She watched him go, her cheeks a bit pink in the cold air, and then straightened her apron and went back to closing up the store for the evening.

Viannah E. Duncan

Viannah E. Duncan is a writer and activist hailing originally from Los Angeles. She lives outside of Baltimore, Maryland, and holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Wilkes University. She has a cat, Cleo.

2 thoughts on “Florist

  • Sunday, 31 March 2013 at 11:12:44

    Hi Vianna – Nice story. What an endearing relationship these two have. I’m deciding to publish an anthology of this idea – Would you like to do a few stories?

    • Sunday, 31 March 2013 at 11:24:02

      yes! I would love to. Just let me know more info when you know. ^_^


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