Using Art to Drive a Story

In our most recent Writer's Club, we studied two paintings from Claude-Joseph Vernet. Dissecting elements of each painting beforehand aided us in creating narratives taking place in both landscapes. Students had their stories travel between A Storm on the Mediterranean Coast and A Calm at a Mediterranean Port. The final products of this assignment were fabulous! Enjoy this story by Emily McCarthy!

I raced across the narrow dirt roads towards the stone walls of the town ahead. My heart pounded in my chest as I approached them, the thundering storm right on my heels. Rain pelted my clothes as I ran, my breath coming in shallow gasps as I risked a glance over my shoulder at the cove far behind me. I tuned out the storm around me, focusing only on the thump of my feet as I raced across the valley. My ears rang at the sound of another thunderclap, loud and bright. I slowed with the coming fatigue, a sharp pain forming in my ribs. I collapsed to my knees as my legs gave out, my face soaked with rain and sweat. I inhaled sharply as the rest of my body hit the ground, rolling onto my back. I watched the storm above me, my focus narrowing on a bird that struggled against the wind before it dove out of the sky, it’s wings faltering against the storm. And for a moment, I imagined myself as that bird, plummeting down towards the ground below. But my eyes closed, and I didn’t fight them. Instead, I let the world shimmer out of view. Leaving me alone in the dark.

~~~

“Excuse me, ma’am?” Asked a small voice behind me as I turned away from the sunset. A glorious view, one that stretched for miles, almost completely undisturbed against the calm and gentle waters. A young girl stood behind me, her eyes big and pleading. “Hello,” I said, wondering why a girl that small was here alone. “Do you know..-“ She started before taking a deep breath. “Do you know where the medicine is?” She asked. I scanned the stalls around the port, and the hustle of the upper class as vendors raised their voices over one another.

“The best dyes in town!” One called, before another started, “The real best dyes in town!” I turned back to the girl. “They won’t be in the market today, dear,” I said, turning and pointing out to sea, where one of the larger ships docked. “But the herbs and medicines should be there. Men will go out soon and collect the stock. If you’re lucky, they may set up by sunrise tomorrow, though expect around mid-sun.” She looked disappointed for a moment, her eyes clouded with concern before she smiled and muttered a quick thank-you, running off into the crowd. I blinked, confused, but turned back to the billowing clouds and the friendly gurgle of the sea. The wind shifted, and the air turned heavy. I lifted my head and looked around. The clouds shadowed the sun and covered the sky in moments. The port turned into panic, as fishing boats quickly returned to shore.

Copyright © 2020 - Kids Write with Crystal
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