Have you heard of Harris Burdick? I hadn’t until a couple of weeks ago, but when I did hear about him I was immediately fascinated. You can read more about him here, but the short version is that one day he was pitching a book to a publisher and the next day he was gone. No one ever heard from or saw him again. All that was left behind were 14 drawings that went with the book he had been pitching, and the titles and captions that went along with the pictures.
It’s a huge mystery, and no one has the answers.
What there is, is these amazing pictures and intriguing captions that have been used as the springboard for countless short stories. Teachers use them as springboards. Aspiring writers use them as springboards. Countless people have used them as springboards.
A group of my students have recently used them as springboards. They each picked a picture and wrote a story based on it, its title, and its caption. They’ve been really excited to write the stories, and it’s been a great way for them to practice narrative writing without having to come up with the basis of the idea.
I can’t wait until I have the opportunity to use these stories as a springboard in my own classroom. I think that they’re really interesting, that the mystery of Harris Burdick is really interesting, and I hope that someday someone finds the answers.