Saturday, January 16, 2010

Overheard Conversations

I know I’ve dedicated this blog to creativity, and perhaps overheard conversations don’t seem to fit the category, but where do you think the inspiration for a lot of fiction comes from? To a writer, everything is fair game.

Walking in the Woods
I’m walking briskly through the redwood forest on a beautiful summer morning. Ahead I spot two women, dressed in baggy jeans and sweatshirts ambling along the path. Not wanting to slow my stride to stay a respectful distance behind them, I break into a trot and jog on by. As I pass, I hear the apparent end of a conversation.

“…so, I tossed a rump roast and some veggies in the crock. Handful of garlic, too. Tasted real good, but it gave George the diarrhea.”

“Mmmm. Aren’t those the most beautiful trees ever?”

Definition of Rhetorical Question
A middle aged woman is dressed in a tartan cape that matches the pattern of her doggie’s sweater. The doggie, a beagle pup, sits stubbornly on the sidewalk, ignoring the taut leash and her owner’s obvious consternation.

The woman steps off the curb and squats in the street, eye level with the pup. She leans forward and earnestly asks, “Why are you acting like this?”

Wish I Were You
Basking in the afterglow of my early morning workout at Curves, I wave goodbye to the desk attendant and step out into a slice of September sun, pausing for a moment of sensate pleasure.

As I head toward my ancient blue Honda, I note another gym-goer pull up in her shiny new silver Explorer. The middle-aged woman climbs laboriously out of her car and grimaces at the world as she beeps the lock gadget. She tugs at and rearranges her matching baby blue Lycra exercise outfit. She reminds me of a pigeon preening.

Although a warm stiff breeze rustles the leaves of crepe myrtle overhead and lifts the edges of my sweaty tee shirt, her well-lacquered hair holds fast to its helmet shape. Determination lines her face as she marches purposefully toward the gym. She nods briskly as she notes my leave-taking, and mumbles, “I wish I were you,” as she pushes herself through the door for her thirty minute workout.

Now, I know, in context what she meant was she wished she were finishing her workout, like me. I couldn’t help but chuckle at how astounded she would have been to suddenly experience herself as a sixty-three year old lesbian mom/grandmother/writer/therapist/composer/actor that lives alone on a meager income in a large one-room rental with a stuffed raven perched on her computer for a companion.

Ah, the things that fall out of people’s mouths.

1 comment:

  1. I love "Overheard Conversations"!!! You do have a way of slanting my perspective; thanks. Haven't checked in for a looks like I've got some fun reading in front of me.