Blue Balloon


Some things are fleeting. Her voice was ragged from the lack of oxygen. Her thoughts flew, rising until they too thinned like the wisps of cloud above her.

The crowd in the square far below dwindled into dots of color. The moving dots arranged and rearranged, tiny puzzles pixelating. Pointillism, she thought, and arranged the dots again to suit her. Now they were a giraffe. Now a house with comforting smoke rising from its brick chimney. Now a giant mouth reaching towards her.

She shuddered and rose higher, looking now over the cathedral’s roof. Below, the dots shifted again and a cry rose from the crowd, a thin piercing wail that froze her cold.

I’m going to die, she thought. I am going to rise as high as I can and then I will drift over the ocean and catch a current of moist air. By that time, the pressure inside me will diminish and my walls will thin. I’ll sink and drown in the cold dark waters.

Gargoyles grimaced. The roof tiles beckoned, glinting in the sunlight. Clouds gathered and drank and became oceans. The colored dots below shifted and sank into pools of molten thought. Above, stars whispered and sang. The wind sighed a lonely sound. A child laughed.


This is the first of a 30-day foray into the art of ekphrasis, or writing from art. What you read today was 10 minutes of unedited writing from the blue balloon image you see. Each day I will choose a new image and write for 10 minutes using the image as a starting place. I call the category Phantasm, which according to my dictionary is a figment of the imagination; an illusion or apparition, or archaic, an illusory likeness of something. 

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