Collecting Characters From Life


I’m really excited. This weekend I am going to a dental conference! No, really. I am excited. I’m going to go see who’s who and what’s what with dentistry.  Now, why should I be all aflutter about this?  In a word–collecting.

Woman In Paddington

What does this chic woman have on her mind? There’s a story here.

People collect all sorts of things, from rocks to rock band ticket stubs, or stamps to stickers.  I like to “collect” people.  Sometimes someone pauses in an interesting pose, dressed to stand out in a crowd. Photo op. Other times people will share a life story with me. Journal time.

I don’t manage to snap all the photos I’d like, nor do I write down every story I hear, but in writing I feel that people are my business as much as any word strings.  The human story is played out in the everyday world around us. Artists collect, sketch and paint the everyday continuously too.  Florals, still life, landscape. These are classics that never go out of style. In writing, who wants to read about rocks unless there is a rock collector to go with them?

People flit about in my life, like birds on a spring morning.  They may be in their own, to them unexciting routines, but when they touch my life there is something new going on for me, and I love experiencing it.

Man In Paddington

Buying flowers at a train station? Making up or saying good-bye? What would you write?

What do I take note of?  That’s easy. Whatever’s interesting.  A scrap of trivia from an expert in an interview expands my own knowledge (which I am all too eager to share), and when I hear a personal story, I’m right there with the teller.  This is part of why I cry easily.  I hear someone’s pain, and I feel it myself.  But I also have a wicked sense of the ironic, and I can visualize someone’s personal foibles extended out so that I must laugh.

Did I tell you that the vet has started to call me, just to see “how Prophet is doing?”  I think they spell my dog’s name differently, and apply it to their practice.  Could you imagine a vet who called his or her “regulars” just to plant the seed of paranoia? “Hello, Ms. Jones. How’s little Phoebe today? Did you know that a lot of cats are suffering from ringworm this time of year? Just thought you should know. Please look for these symptoms on Phoebe and let me know how she’s doing…” Oh the wicked fun I could have with that one!

Now, in all honesty, I’m not as great at collecting people as I intend to become.  I started my collections notebook a couple of years ago, and it’s still pretty blank.  This is because I haven’t made enough time to be faithful to the journal.  And when I think of someone I want to write about, I’ve often misplaced the darn thing, so I don’t write anything down.  Hmm. Not good for someone who likes to write stories.

Walk A Mile In Another's Shoes

Walk A Mile In Another’s Shoes – then write their story.

One solution is to start keeping my Collections work on my iPad.  I really enjoy using that tool for jotting down scraps and starts.  And I’ve learned how to group documents so that I can actually find them again. What a novel idea. I think one day a short story on the genius who lost all his or her files into a black hole of messed up computer files might be fun. He or she keeps drilling down into the folders but can’t find any work done to date.  And each drill may have a sound go off in our protagonist’s head. A sound like . . . a dentist drill!

Ooh! I can’t wait for this weekend.

Hope you have a wonderful week.

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2 thoughts on “Collecting Characters From Life

  1. Sounds promising! I had thought of collecting characters on Pinterest, but I think I have one character pinned to that board . . .

    • LOL! I love this. I’ve started a few bulletin boards on Pinterest too, but can’t seem to make the regular time commitment to keep up–I have a real bulletin board in my office, so the virtual thing is there as evidence of my less than organized life sometimes. Have a great week, Luanne.

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