Friday, March 5, 2010

It's Rude to Stare...


...unless you're a writer, according to my girl Flannery:

The writer should never be ashamed of staring. There is nothing that does not require his attention.

~Flannery O'Connor


What's caught your attention lately?

When I walk to work (square in the middle of the French Quarter), I see some pretty weird things.

Yesterday I saw a female Michael Jackson impersonator do the moonwalk accompanied by a gorilla playing a drum-kit. Barely gave them a second glance. Lately, it's the more mundane things that make me stare, that make me think.

Sometimes I'll find myself staring, not at the historical architecture and decaying beauty to be found, but the junk accumulated overnight on the sidewalks.

This morning I stepped over a lost glove, a used condom, two broken guitar strings, a mangled baby stroller and a dog collar. Guess the weekend's coming. ;)

These simple, everyday (somewhat disgusting) items are part of a larger story, a number of greater stories that my brain is free to rewrite in any way I like. Now I'll have to go stare at some people until I find the right ones to interact with these items...

Found yourself staring lately?

12 comments:

Abby Annis said...

Somewhat disgusting? ;)

I do that too--seeing stories in the oddest places. The staring? I don't know. I'll have to give it a try. Great post!

Julie Dao said...

Hahah! Nothing like a little sidewalk junk to get inspiration ;) I'll try to stare at inspiring things and not just at a blank computer screen!

Angie said...

For me it's not so much staring as eavesdropping. I can't help myself. I want to know what they're talking about. I want to feel the rhythm of the conversation. I agree that sidewalk junk can provide marvelous inspiration. Hooray for all the stories just waiting to be told!

Elana Johnson said...

Okay, I'm kind of grossed out by what you saw on the street this morning. :)

I notice a lot of things. I think that's the difference between likeable characters and not. We give them things that no one else notices. And how do we do that? We notice things.

T. Anne said...

OMGosh yes!! I have a terrible time looking away. Now that I have Flannery's permission...

Karen Denise said...

Man-o-man do I stare a lot at my job! Granted, most of my job consists of me shut up in my office, but when I step out I see some "things". I work in a hospital--a Perinatal Center to be exact--and we are in no short supply of women who come in all shapes and sizes, in various levels of undress and a multitude of "baby daddies." Today I found myself staring at a little girl with the weirdest hair I have ever seen. While my coworkers were busy laughing quietly--as no one wants to laugh in a childs face--I was busy trying to figure out how I would describe the childs hair if I had to write about it. One word came to mind...Pelt.

Great post!

ali said...

Whoa. I so totally can't relate to that. Not the staring, do that all the time, but the world you live in. My life is so milk-toast boring suburbia.

I went to a Killers concert last summer and there was a girl dancing in the row in front of me. She had floppy Raggedy-Anne hair and she danced like Elaine. She was awesome. I watched her the whole concert long. And now she's in a book. :)

L.T. Elliot said...

I think you could use all of those "stepped over trash" items to make an episode of Law & Order: SVU. Or your own murder mystery. But you'd better have a detective as awesome as Lt. Elliot. (And not just because of the close similarity with my name.) Ha ha!

Tere Kirkland said...

I guess I've gotten a little desensitized to the sidewalk grossness. ;) And the general weirdness.

I do find myself eavesdropping on people and staring more when the weather's nice and I eat my lunch in Jackson Square. It's interesting to see the way normal people act when they're on vacation.

LT, funny you should say that. I recently had a dream about that I was solving a murder mystery during Mardi Gras, but got distracted and led into more trouble going after a throw I saw on the ground. Weird you should say that. Maybe I should start outlining that idea after all. :) Thanks!

Callie Forester said...

Hmmm...where do you live? lol...no used condoms on our sidewalk. I must say, i'm grateful for that.

My first little grandson was born yesterday morning. Talk about inspiring. All that newness. He can be anyone. And how people act around him...Everyone already loves him so much. We all just want to hold him. It's nice to be around someone that brings out the best in everyone. :)

I want to write a scene where I capture the energy in my daughter's hospital room. So much happiness...It's just been full of friends and family the entire day. Music. Food. And one teeny-tiny little person inspiring all of it.

I'm not sure if I'm a good enough writer to convey it. :)

Lisa and Laura said...

Lately, I'm not the one with the staring problem, it's my kids. It took me 10 minutes in Target the other day to explain to my 4-year-old what a wheel-chair was.

Susan R. Mills said...

I'm definitely a starer. My husband is always telling me to stop staring. I prefer to call it people-watching.