“I don’t find ideas as much as they find me. A writer needs to be available to the lightning that, if he or she is lucky, strikes.”
While I’m not sure exactly why, there are times when I find myself in a wandering mood. Like a bookish bird, I feel the need to alight in different places and write. Recently, this has brought me within earshot of some pretty amazing comments by random strangers. Now was I merely overhearing these witty and winsome words, or was I eavesdropping? This I cannot say, but yielding to the writer in me, I grabbed a newspaper and other writable materials and recorded some of comments for future reference. A couple of tidbits:
A young man, tall and hopeful, in a black-and-white wool cap jumps up and declaims to a girl nearby: “I’ve got a heart in my chest that’s gonna break. And it’s you that’s gonna do it. Don’t say no!”
A woman and her boyfriend are meeting with a female real estate agent. The woman appears to be going through a tough divorce and describes herself as her estranged husband sees her: “I’m the bitch who won’t agree to anything.” Just to lighten things up, the real estate agent shoots back “Well, you are a bitch with a great haircut!”
And here’s my favorite recent pearl of wisdom. I was sitting in Starbucks on a Sunday morning, which is unusual for me, and it was super crowded. I moved over to share a bench with someone who turned out to be a pharmacist (I think). He asked me what I did. I said I was a writer. Fiction or nonfiction? he asked. Both, I replied. Which do you like better? he queried. Well, I enjoy interviewing a lot for my nonfiction books, but I have to say I really love fiction and creating new characters. Without skipping a beat he responded, “It’s the god in you.”
“It’s the god in you.” Shakespeare probably couldn’t have said that better! These little gems remind me that we are all poets and literary lights — and we all yearn to express ourselves in vibrant and memorable ways. And how wonderful it is when in the course of the day some fabulous phrase or idea rolls our way randomly from a stranger’s gifted mind.
Just today, I was having coffee with my dear friend Janis, who told me that her father once told her that the greatest problem America faces is “the steady erosion of the self-reliant citizen.” She was just a kid, but she still remembers his exact words. And how well crafted they were. Write on!