Thursday, June 20, 2013


Writers are nosy; they don't mind their own business.  They eavesdrop.  They spy.  In Seattle there is a bus I once rode.  Stuff happened on that route.  A couple sat handcuffed together.  A man got on and poured his coffee in the coin box when asked to dump it outside.  A guy on a cell was trying to buy a goat.  A dog got on without any apparent owner and got off two stops later.

I listen in on conversations and try to capture patterns of speech.  No character speaks the same as another character.  I write down snatches of what I hear.  A person's speech tells us a lot about his education, where he grew up, about his job, his self-esteem.  The volume of pitch of spoken words vary during conversations. I listen secretly.

Sometimes I sit in a public place near the most interesting people I can find.  Get myself a coffee and open my notebook.  I'm unobtrusive, but I listen.  I don't even have to see the people talking.  Later I will put these people in a complication.  They can be in a very ordinary situation such as washing the supper dishes or talking during an opera intermission.  Trouble finds them when they least expect it.  They're surprised when during a perfectly routine event becomes potentially difficult.

I listen wherever I am.  What I am waiting for are voices that evoke the human condition.

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