Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Just looking

I have a writer's bad habit of observing people around me -- at doctors' offices, waiting rooms, restaurants, etc. Human behavior is often entertaining, sometimes annoying, occasionally inspiring.

Call me crazy, but I can't help but wonder about them. I'm amazed when I hear scribes complain about writer's block. Stories -- and characters -- are everywhere, if you take the time to look.

I think about the woman with the thin, whispery voice and downcast eyes that I held the door for at the doctor's office this morning. I wonder about her life, curious as to the situation that made her appear so pensive.

In the waiting room, I watch the young woman with a little girl. She barely pays the girl mind as the youngster proceeds to wreak havoc with the furniture. It puts me in mind of a story idea, to be filed away for a rainy day.

I worry about whomever the woman in the drive-thru window at Wendy's is discussing when I hear her say as the door slides open, "She was having an anxiety attack." I'm curious about the guy who is in such a hurry that he passes me and another car before risking his life to dart back into traffic. What could possibly be that important?

It's nuts, I know, but these people stay with me awhile, tumbling around in my thoughts. They aren't just strangers on the street, anonymous motorists, servers in a restaurant. They have their own hopes and fears, crosses to bear, dreams to fulfill.

Each has a story to tell.

Writer's block? Don't think so. Not if you look.

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