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Archive for March, 2012

looking for an idea? Just look around …

March 27, 2012

fransiweinstein

If you follow my blog you know I love Magnificent Nose.  It’s another WordPress blog.  Recently Sara Goas, one of the writers who contributes, had a great post: “Inspiration” — a fictional story about an English teacher, her students and ideas — and where they come from.

I loved this story because my entire career has been about ideas.  So for me, it was very personal.  Thankfully, it’s only happened to me once, but I have suffered through writer’s block, and let me assure you, it’s terrifying.  So I know first hand just how hard to come by an idea can be; and, like the teacher in Sara’s story, I also know where to look for inspiration.

All around me.

People watch, in other words.  Listen to what people say — about everything.  About the books they’re reading, the movies they’ve seen, the fights they’ve had with their spouses, how their kids are driving them nuts, why they want to lose weight, why they want to gain weight, why they hate their job, what they’re looking for in a relationship, what they like to eat, why they can’t eat broccoli, where they like to travel, what the dog did, what their mother-in-law said, why they broke up, what they like and dislike about themselves.

Pay attention to what they do when they’re checking out the cereal aisle in the grocery store, when they’re stopped at a red light beside you, at the movies, in the departure lounge at the airport, at the dentist’s.

Become a voyeur.  Eavesdrop.  Just try to be discreet about it.

Which reminds me of a ‘discussion‘ I once had with a former boyfriend.  Okay, he was pissed off and decided to let me know it.  We were at a restaurant and when we were having our appetizers he suddenly stopped eating.  Waving his fork in my face he threatened to leave if I didn’t start paying attention to the conversation he was trying to have with me.

Instead of listening to him it seems that I was totally engrossed in a couple sitting two or three tables away from us.  They sat there like two total strangers.  There was no warmth between them … no familiarity.  They weren’t speaking.  They weren’t even looking at each other.  They were each lost in their own thoughts, and even looking in different directions.

Without really being aware of what I was doing, I couldn’t take my eyes off them.  And unconsciously, as I sat there watching, in my head I was imagining their entire relationship and what had led up to this oh-so-lonely dinner, where the only thing they were sharing was the table.  What’s more, I was writing dialogue — which I was sharing with my boyfriend, instead of having a conversation of our own.  Hence his frustration.

He wasn’t wrong, of course, but the writer in me was happy.  In the space of the hour or two that we all found ourselves under the same roof, between what they didn’t say, and their body language, I got enough material to write a book, or a movie or a play — or, as it turns out, even a good portion of this blog.

See.  Ideas are everywhere.  So let this be your warning.  If you ever feel someone staring at you, it’s probably me.  Don’t take it personally.  And please don’t think I’m being nosy or rude.  I’m just counting on you for some inspiration.

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