I’m sure most writers have done this at some point and time. Sit down and just watch the people around then create their life, personalities, back stories, and run with the stories from there. Since I’ve been out on disability for an entire year I can’t say I have done much people watching lately. Most my time was spent sitting at home and writing. My best people watching was spent on my pets, even the turtle was given a character. Well, today was my first day back at work which is at a fairly small hospital in my relatively small community. We are quite a diverse little area and see people of all kinds of nationalities, backgrounds, histories, and sizes. I gotta say, after a year of talking to the pets, I was in sensory overload. Steam literally escaped my ear canal from all the fusing synopses in my brain. No RedBull, Monsters, or Dexatrim needed to get my brain in action.
I wish I would have had my laptop to get all this information down (which may have subdued the overloaded brain). I had so many story lines from people who walked through the door before I ever got their names. There was a beautiful older couple sitting in the hall, holding hands, and I couldn’t help but create a life for them. Then there was a younger couple who bickered loud enough for people a city away to hear, and I created a story line for them, too, but there’s was a bit more death metal while the older couple was a little more Etta James.
Oh, yes. I do hear music in my stories and I equate things to colors. There was a research study for that years ago, but quite frankly I’m not looking for the cure to “why music and colors fill my head”. I don’t know why, but I see the cute older couple and I hear Etta James and see pastel yellow. I see the bickering kids and think Ozzy ripping off a bat’s head and think deep purple. Go figure. I was so overloaded I had to drive straight home and jot down personalities on my cell phone. This stuff is classic. And its free, so that’s a major bonus since I’m a flat broke writer moonlighting as a nurse. Funny how a year changed that around.
Anyway, I realized just how fat my brain was (does that make sense?). I mean teachers say that learning is exercise for the brain. Well if I was trapped (chained to my laptop) for a year without much in the way of sensory stimulation save for the occasional SpongeBob cartoon when the 4-year-old is home, or K-9 therapy sessions, or frontal lobe meltdown while the 17-year-old explains the time continuum paradox flaw in time travel, or the telepathy games that the bag of Oreo cookies plays on my mind every night…other than those little blips in life, I was getting no mental exercise. This fully explains why my brain fried today. It was out of shape. It was like pulling it from a one year bacon and rocky road ice cream sedentary slump then instantly sticking it on some Jillian Michaels or Insanity work out on expert level. Mmmmmmm….bacon. Sorry, old habits die hard. Wake up brain! Focus. There is an entire world out there to explore and write about f you would just get up off your lazy medula oblongata and see past your own frontal cortex. We can’t continue to melt down everytime we are in a room of people like a person suffering from agoraphobia who steps out the front door for the first time in a year.
Tomorrow we will walk around the park and take it slow. Maybe create a back story for a sparrow or lizzard to start. We can move on to the creepy man with muscles on his shoulders who walks the little boston terrier and wears shorts just a bit too tight to be considered “casual.” Perhaps if we feel up to it we can go to the movies and catch Star Wars in 3D and watch the people in the theater while the 4-year-old eats all our popcorn, tells us what is going to happen next, and gives a sermon on why Darth Vador needs to pray. We will walk and not run through our people watching exercises. Next week we work 40 hours and that will start the endurance training. And when we survive without any shorting of fuses I will gladly reward all your wonderful efforts: BACON SHAKES!!!
Lesson of the day: take your brain out for a walk…oh, and keep a pen and notebook handy for all those wonderful thoughts.