Tuesday, March 24, 2009


Maybe you don't know it, but you're fascinating. I am intrigued by you. I don't even have to know you... but I see you. Maybe you're my neighbor. Or a person at the grocery store. You say or do something that catches my interest.

I want to know more about you. But between being shy and loathing when others intrude into my life (yes, I'm aware of the irony) I stay quiet.

But I'm studying you.

In my mind I'm coming up with questions about you. Why are you wearing a 4-20 shirt at a Pokemon trading card tournament? Who are you calling vile names on your phone in the greeting card aisle? What's this trip you're talking about with your less-than-interested-looking companion?

I start answering the questions. Maybe I go beyond that. Maybe I've given you some backstory. And maybe the interaction I've witnessed has sparked another idea. What if that oft-repeated threat of yours, short-blond-haired girl with the purse bigger than your head, what if you followed through on that? Who were you threatening? How did you pull it off? Sorry, but now you're a character. And I'll be writing something about you.

I'd still like to know what's really going on. Insatiable curiosity, you see. But, since I don't have that, I'll make something up. It's probably more interesting anyway. And besides, if I make it up, then I don't have to listen to you talk about stupid choices and other things that make my eyes roll. You'd probably irritate me if I knew you. So this works better, for the both of us.

The more tidbits I get on people's thinkings and mannerisms and habits, the more fodder it is for my writing. The more questions I can come up with new answers for. See, sometimes it's hard to get away from the way I think of things and to get into another person's head. If you give me something new and curious, yours just might be the head I get into.

Don't worry, I don't judge. I just collect. It's all so fascinating.

(Image from Wikimedia Commons)


pattinase (abbott) said...

Do you ever find yourself writing while you watch a movie--because some minor character seems to need a plot of his own? Or listening to a piece of music, an idea pops into your head and you never listen again?

Clair Dickson said...

Patti-- yes, I do. Sometimes I have trouble finishing watching a movie (or book) because the story I'm creating is more entertaining and fascinating.

Music doesn't have the same effect on me, though. I occasionally get ideas, but it doesn't affect my ability to listen to the music.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I rarely hear a concert if we go to one (classical at least) I rarely hear speech. I sometimes wonder if it's a brain disorder of some kind.

Barbara Martin said...

I have watched movies and come up with answers to a plot hitch or a scene that moves the action forward. Every day I listen to people in the stores or on the buses/streetcars gleaning snippets of information that could be transposed into a story.