Tell Me The Story of My Life

Fancy yourself a storyteller, a writer, a creator, a tinkerer, an artist, a child at heart? You like to play and sculpt and shape and remix and mashup? You like photos and stories and music and art and never ending searches for meaning and beauty and things that give you pause and gratitude and feelings bordering authentic? You feel connected, disconnected, isolated, surrounded, loved, ignored or necessary?

Wanna make some art?

For the last year, I have been taking photographs. For each day of the 365 I have chosen one photo to be the photo of that day. The photos can be found here. Or I suppose if you want, you could flip through them here:

But I want you to do more than just view dear reader. I want you to absorb and internalize, synthesize and make your own–the emotions and ideas that consume you when you find a photo or photos that speak to you. Look for themes or colors or people and — Write a poem. Scribe a song. Create a short film. Write a short story.  A newspaper article. Blend the media and tell the story digitally.

Whatever you do, please link back to this post with a URL of where your creation lives online. Please also add the link to the Flickr photo itself. Perhaps you can also scribble some lines in the comments of the photo, where someone else can take the lines and move them forward or backward to wherever they needs to go.

You can also share this set with your students, your peers, your administrators, your grandmas and grandpas. But, if, however you do not feel artistically up to the challenge, then send me some ideas and I will do it for you. Fill out this form to give me some direction:

If you have any other ideas, please share. I am curious to see where these photos will go, who they will come. I am giddy to see my life told back to me by you, with you through you. Last time we did something like this, we ended up in some interesting places.

So come on…the least you can do is write the first thing that comes to mind on a photo that grabs your attention. Your random dribble thoughts, could ignite a fire some place else.


10 thoughts on “Tell Me The Story of My Life

  1. avatarJeannette James
    Twitter: 7mrsjames

    Invitation accepted! To clarify, would you like us to use a pic from your 365 Flicker set?
    Will extend the invitation to my kids too. Holiday challenge! Great idea dude.

    1. avatarJabiz Post author

      That was the plan! But if you have a picture of your own and would like me to do something with it, then send me the URL and let me know what you would like to see. I am open to any ideas. I just want to see some cool art based on the events and memories from the passed year.

  2. avatarNatalie
    Twitter: angeldanger

    Challenge accepted, my hard disk crashed so photos will be extremely limited but I’ll use photos on my fb account and whatever from my iphone 4.2 which probably could do a recap/ memoir thing. (pardon me for using the wrong terminology– been a whole good year since I last took a literature/journalism writing class!)

  3. avatarGNA

    Dear Jabiz,

    I’ve ruminated on this project since you pinged me via Twitter, among others, a few days back.

    One of the things I really dig about you as a colleague is that occasionally you ask a really provocative question (sometimes the question isn’t in the form of a question mind you, it could be a statement, but still, it’s on point ).

    I hope you will read me as I read you, with an open heart and mind. I hope you understand how one short statement, verse, on occasion is golden. I hope you know I understand the place from withing in you wrote this post. Longing for provocation.

    Stumbling upon it, occasionally in a text: song, poem, prose, tweet, etc. When we find it. When we are provoked to act by a piece of … well, a piece of something … it’s golden.

    I don’t fret misunderstanding because I know you know as much as I can say this project herein is a call for provocation.


    And in this special, very Jabiz-centric calling: challenge me to make new meaning of what I have created.

    I challenge you, dear friend, brother: find what you are looking for after REFRACTION.

    Look back at how you have captured your own life. Recreate your own life, your own art through a new lens, ask yourself new questions, reframe yourself.

    I know that may seem like snake-eating-its-tail kind of stuff, but when guided by question or concern, a construct, it has possibilities.

    For example, last year, I attempted to inform my art, poetics by the theme of “Home.”

    How would it be if you refracted on your body of art from last year under a singular theme?

    Ultimately, as artists, how can we provoke ourselves? Must we always all ways find seek a muse? Can we create anew depending upon our reiterations reframings repositioning?

    I want the answer to be yes. I want to testify to your recreation, retelling of your own life, through you own images, stories. I want to know you in the best iteration of yourself.


    1. avatarJabiz Post author

      This is why I love the communities we build. You are why I love the communities we build. For all intents and purposes we are strangers. But this is not true, through all the pixelated and digital detritus that I have spewed into cyperspace you have been able to gather enough of it to create a pretty accurate picture of how my angst filled, attention seeking, warped little soul operates.

      I was bored with myself and the world and art and everything, but I knew that if spurned on or provoked or poked there was something that needed to be done with these photos. I knew that stories were there and that I was too bored or lazy or tired to find them myself. So I created this half-baked idea in a flurry of agency and disregard, hoping that maybe, someone out there would push me where I needed to go.

      That didn;t work so much, as the project was doomed from the start. But I guess all is not lost, as your comment has reminded me that the true artists works through her own boredom with self, and digs and explores even when she is pretty sure there is nothing left to explore.

      So I will stew with these photos and these days and these thoughts and wait and stew and provoke and wait for the internal muse to come forth and scream into the darkness. It is quiet for the moment, but that you for reminding me that sometimes, usually, it is best to simply sit and listen, instead of asking others to make some noise.

  4. avatarRed

    One of your pictures had an image of ‘The Hunger Games’ tucked away in it. Reminded me of the fury one of my fellow teachers when it was revealed we were going to teach that book 2 years ago. I later attended a conference where there were a wide range of ideas, some great, some ludicrous, and I imagined his reaction had he been there – in the 15 mis between classes it inspired this rather harsh portrait of his character. Enjoy.

    “His talk was staggering! I agree with him completely, there is no point in reading fiction, only non-fiction.”
    “Hurmph,” hurmphed Howard. “He was staggering – staggering all over the place, drunk as a lord…drunk as the whole House of Lords.”
    Bingley’s eyes gleamed with irrepressible admiration. “The way he described the advent of modernist and postmodernist literature through the medium of mime – “
    “Oh, Buddah, listen to yourselves! Mime for Judas’ sake!” Howard’s lips were spittled with disgust. Even saying the word ‘mime’ made him feel soiled and in need of a cleansing sherry.
    “And he threw sweets out half way through –“ smiled Brad.
    “Oh, well, Brad, well, that does make his academic ability shine through, that exemplifies the deep underpinning seriousness of his research that does. Heaving handfuls of Quality Street to the comatose mob. Treating you like 5 year olds and holding your attention like a dolphin trainer lobbing fish. Did he ring a bell and make you salivate too?” Howard was red faced and his ire, if not fully risen, was rising fast.
    Brad smiled amiably, an action guaranteed to set Howard’s teeth grinding chips off each other. “Man, see, on my course, the dichotomy of the real and the artificially structured, indeed the Derridian deconstruction of a text as a product of its history and cultural birth, is central, dude. Furthermore – “
    The arc and trajectory of the spray of Howard’s sherry was fuelled (and possibly included a drop or two) of bile and bitterness.
    “’Dude’? Did you just refer to me as ‘dude’? How old are you Brad, you have to be in your 40s! Dude!? Brad, what exactly do you teach?”
    Brad smiled and looked Howard straight in the eye “Klingon Language and History – to a Masters level. We are performing Hamlet in Klingon next week if you are – ”
    If Howard had been outraged and gobsmacked before, he was now at a new level of mania. Choking, gagging with the innate rage of a man who had spent the better part of a quarter century decoding the riddles and hidden meanings of 19th and 20th century English literature, Howard was righteous fury incarnate.
    “Klingon?” his eyes bulged. “Like in Star Wars?”
    A smile and a brief chuckle, a knowing smirk of mirth at the other lecturers. Brad replied with a faintly perceptible edge of patronisation, “I think you’ll find it is Star Trek. Common mistake. Amongst…some people.” Howard noted again the – was that actually a pitying – smirk? A ‘you can’t help thinking some people are just too old to be useful anymore’ derisive grin of contempt?
    “ So, you teach a made up language about a bunch of rubber headed actors pretending to be aliens – a totally false –“
    “Well,” Brad nonchalantly interrupted the opening salvo. “You learned Latin at school, didn’t you say? That’s a dead language…”
    “It is not dead! It is not dead! Over one million words of it are still used today in Law, Medicine, Psychiatry, you might as well say Ancient Greek is dead – “ Howard was out of his chair now, sherry slopping dangerously over the edge of his glass and threatening to darken his fawn coloured trousers in a very inappropriate area.
    “I agree,” piped up a bright voice in the corner. “Shakespeare is effectively written in a ‘dead language’ but of the two thousand odd words he invented we still use a lot of them today and even phrases.”
    “Exactly!” Howard enthused, pleased (even more so on seeing the speaker was an astonishingly pretty girl with short cropped brown hair and dazzling green eyes) at having agreement and support. “See? If you teach something proper, a truly educational area of study-”
    “Yes,” her honey sweet voice continued. “On my course ‘Marxist and Feminist Interpretations of Shakespeare’ we delve beneath the surface of –“
    The sherry spray intensity was doubled and seriously affected the ill-advised white sofa. “How?! What?!?” his disgust and repulsion so desperate to expel itself from his body that his brain could not form the questions adequately or speedily enough. ‘You cannot apply the theories of Marx or some batty old bra burning trollop to works written three hundred years previously! It can’t possibly hold water or relevance! What a waste of time and energy! That’s not a course it is a travesty of education! “
    “Well,” interjected a senior male voice. “At the University for New Age Transcendental Meditation, we – “
    The detonation of sherry spray took the new professor full in the face. “What is this? A gathering of the Mentally Stunted and Backward Loopy Lecturers Association? Have you all gone completely tonto? This is mad as trees!” the sherry glass, now empty but generously festooned with spittle spray, was slammed on the oak table in disgust. Howard stared with undisguised horror at the ten people before him.
    “I teach Critical Appreciation of Modernist Literature, a standard and acceptable component of the English Literature course as Bathtol University, regularly in the top twelve universities of the UK. Is anybody, anybody at all in this room going to let these claptrap Mickey Mouse snake oil pedlars escape our wrath? Charlie?” Howard singled out a tweed suited forty-something he had chatted to at the bar after the ‘Hardy; father of modernist literature’ seminar and who had acted coherent and sensible.
    “Well, I have found great worth in my course “Abstract and impressionist music–“
    “Aha ha!” said Markham triumphantly.
    “ by the elephants of Southern Thailand’s rainforests.”
    “Colonic art – painting by ingesting paint and then defecating art onto the canvas – the colouring is also added to the laxatives –“
    “Media Studies – reinterpreting the irony of Benny Hill”
    “Poetry – why translating all foreign poets into English is essential for study of structure and form.”
    “Calvin and Hobbes – A la recherché de temps perdu?”
    Howard howled like a beast trapped by hunters. “And what of Hardy, Eliot, Woolf, Dickens, Foster, Waugh?”
    “Wait, I know this,” said the Head of Lady Gaga Studies excitedly. “Is that the 1966 England World Cup soccer squad?”
    The guttural, bestial scream of rage blotted out the shattering of the sherry decanter. Howard hurled himself at the Professor of George Lucasism with anger and murderous intent. Fortunately for the Jedi influenced professor, he had been mainlining Red Bull all day and so was startling nimble, leaping to one side and leaving the drunken, flailing body of Howard to crash bodily into a bookcase full of DVDs of modern interpretations of Shakespeare. There was a wobble and a creaking, groaning sound as the heavy Victorian reproduction DVD cabinet keeled over precariously. Then with a mighty crash and splintering of plastic boxes and shimmering discs, it collapsed on top of Markham with a horribly definitive cracking and thudding noise.
    A single tweed suited hand poked out, grasping the air and then falling limply, finger middle finger twitching on a DVD of “Howard’s End 2: The Resurrection”.
    “I was only trying to connect…” murmured the startled Gagaist professor, a shocked tear dripping onto his well thumbed copy of “The Dying Art of Irony”….


  5. avatarSarah Lindley
    Twitter: SLindley93

    Hi! My name is Sarah Lindley and I am in the EDM 310 class at the University of South Alabama. I’m studying for a degree in Secondary Education/Language Arts. I am in love with the idea of photos that inspire a story. I hope to find a way to incorporate this in my educational career. My Twitter is @SLindley93. You can view my class blog at

  6. avatarBrittany Haub
    Twitter: brittanymhaub

    Hi! My name is Brittany Haub and I am in EDM310 class here at the University of South Alabama. My major is Elementary and Special Education. I am truly inspired by what you said. Your photographs are breathtaking. There is no way you can write a song, story, or a poem on just one of these photos. Each one tells a different tale. If I could I would write one on each photo. When I become a teacher, I will for surely be using this idea. It will really open their up creativity and their minds to use their imaginations. Thank you for sharing this idea with the rest of the world. My blog is

  7. avatarevasi0n 1.4

    The best way to jailbreak an Iphone is to go for their application.
    Just about every topic is listed by priority. The only concern is how prolonged it will just take.


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