The New Baby

Here’s a poignant portrait of grandson Augustus Reid Arnold from the camera of  Grandpa (and marvelous sci-fi writer) Mark Arnold. He snapped this masterful portrait of the parents and siblings holding their new addition to the family. (Check out Mark’s great sci-fi novella at:

When we put on our writer’s thinking cap, lots of questions come to mind. Who is this child? Where is he? (Or she, we really can’t tell the baby’s gender from the photograph.) Who is holding him? Is it someone trying to spirit him away? Are those fairy hands touching him, or merely other children? Are they siblings, cousins, children of a commune? Perhaps this child is the fulfillment of a prophecy and enemies are tyring to carry him away. Or the forces of good are trying to keep him safe. Or he is being anointed into a secret society to fulfill an arcane destiny.

Look closely at the background. Is it simply a drape set to make the composition more dramatic? It could be soil, seen in the dark of night. Perhaps hills surround the baby, and these are the hands of creatures from the underworld rising to the surface of the earth or the ocean, come to steal him away. Just how many people are holding/touching him? Are they humans? Alien? Magical? Is the child human, or perhaps a hybrid being?

The possibilities are endless once you really start imagining.

Susan Tuttle

Comments? Your ideas from this picture…

On Writing: “I like density, not volume. I like to leave something to the imagination. The reader must fit the pieces together, with the author’s discreet help.”  ~Maureen Howard