Yes, I admit it; I’m nosey. Painfully so. All writers are, and if you are a writer and you don’t believe that, then check out your local Writers’ Anonymous–it’s the first thing you have to admit about yourself.
Check it, I’m leaving my class today–a painful class I might add that just irritated me even more toward my students, but that’s not the point (if my students are reading, yes, see, even I can veer off topic–doesn’t make it right though).
Anyway, I’m walking across a parking lot, and I see this couple walking toward me. The guy is black, the girl, well, I’m not quite sure what she was. I’m thinking bi-racial. Anyway, I hear this buzzing, but it’s not buzzing, it’s the couple talking. I can’t really make out what they are saying.
All of sudden, the guy stops almost right in front of me, turns to the girl, and says, “I don’t want to be with you any more.”
I’m like, WHAT? The girl is like, “What does that mean?” and then the conversation goes “buzzy” again (make note, ears need to be checked).
So do I keep walking and keep my nose out of it?
Nope, I proceed to walk toward this Man 2005 (one of those trucks with wheels taller than the height of an average man–HATE THEM!), and I peer around the truck at the couple. I still can’t hear what they’re saying for the buzzing, but arms are flailing, necks are rolling, and there’s about 5 feet of distance between them. I stay there a good five minutes before limping myself (because of the bum left foot) to my office.
On the way to my office, I kept wondering what was going on with the couple, and instantly in my head, I thought of dialogue to fill in the buzz.
I know, I’m bad. I’m nosey. But don’t we have to be as writers? Don’t we need to taste all there is of the world so that we can write about it in a fresh, honest way that seems real to the readers?
Yeah, I know. I’m nosey, but I like my philosopy, and I’m sticking to it.
The moral of this story for writers: take in the world. listen. see. taste. smell. touch. think the WHAT IFs. write them down. You might be surprised at what might come out.
Case in point: I saw a couple. I heard, “I don’t want to be with you any more.” My brain thought this for starters:
“I don’t want to be with you anymore,” he spouted as I ran to catch up to him.
“What do you mean?” I asked. “Why would you tell me that before I take the MCATs?” I try to button up my coat without dropping the books in my hands.
I wondered why Stan was being so closed-off to me the last week or two, and why this morning, the first morning in nearly four years, he did not come pick me up for class. I overslept, drove myself, and was chewed out by our paramedical biology professor, Dr. Stantabomb, or as I like to refer to him as, Dr. Stinkibomb.
“Girl, don’t even trip,” Stan said. “You’re gonna pass that test.”
I grabbed Stan’s arm, flinging his books onto the parking lot.
“Damn it, Karen,” he said. As he bent down to pick up the books, he added, “See, this is why…”
“This is why what?” I asked. “You don’t want to be with me because I made you drop your books?”
He shook his head.
“You got eight seconds to tell me what’s up before I start acting black.” I flipped my long hair behind my ear.
Stan picked up the last of his books and gave me his WHAT THE… look.
“Eight seconds?” he said. “Most say 10.”
“Well, I’m not most. I’m Karen Faison, so tell me, why don’t you want to see me any more. Are you breaking up with me?”
He laughed, but there was nothing funny about the sound. “And you damn sure don’t look black.”
“Well, I am. What, you gonna start tripping about my color now?” I gripped my books and shook them in his face. “Stop changing the subject, Stanley Roberts Owens.”
“Yo,” he said, pulling me to him, “don’t be calling me that.”
“Why? Because it’s your name?” I asked, laughing.
“You want to know why I don’t want to be with you any more?” he asked. His face was stoic, his words crisp and biting. I stood there, silent, unsure what made him flip the script on me like that and unsure on whether I wanted to hear what he had to say.
“Yes,” I squeaked out.
“You’re plain,” he said simply. “You’re like an offbrand chocolate ice cream. The color’s almost there, but the flavor ain’t.”
I could not believe that my friend for the last eight years, my boyfriend for the last two saw me in that way. At that moment, all I wanted was for a tornado to come and whip me up into the air and throw me back onto the ground, leaving me broken like Stan did.