Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Professional People Watcher

I grew up in Baltimore, MD. Three hours to the east is a fun beach town called Ocean City. During my teen years my friends and I would spend summers sitting on the boardwalk people watching. At night we'd sit on a bench and watch hundreds of people walk, stumble, skate, bike, or dance past us. It was more entertaining than any popular TV show. Couples fighting. drunkards swaying and making arses of themselves, fashion faux pas everywhere you looked. There was even Boardwalk Elvis (An old man that strolled the boards every night dressed to the nines--wonder if he's still alive? Hope so, he was one of my favorites.)

It wasn't just the beach, I people watch everywhere. No one is immune. I've become a pro over the years.

My friends and I used to play this game while we people watched. We'd spot a person or people out of hearing range and we'd create conversations for them. Monologues for one person with lots of secretive shady and strange thoughts. Or dialogues for two people with plenty of drama and conflict. The best scenes were when we spotted "animated talkers." You know who they are. The people that wave their hands through the air, stomp their feet, do that exaggerated neck roll thing. Oh the stories we created! (Okay, so most of the time I was doing the creating and my friends listened and laughed.) Looking back, I thought it was just a good way to pass time. Little did I know I was accumulating details, body language, and inspiration for characters in my novels. If only I had known I was going to be a writer, I would have taken some serious notes (and photos!)

Tomorrow I'm leaving for Colorado Springs, CO. I lived there for two years and I miss the mountains so I'm excited to go back. Excited to see one of my best friends, Krista, and excited to attend my first writer's conference. But here's where the geek in me makes herself known. Tomorrow I get my travelin' people watchin' fix. THE AIRPORT (cue the religious "clouds parting, glorious light shining down on a holy place" music). Airports are the holy grail of great people watching. Loved ones reuniting in squeals, long hugs, and tears; stressed out business folk screaming into their cell phones or at helpless gate agents; toddlers running away from their parents while Mom or Dad juggles their carry on, diaper bag, and starbucks coffee. Oh the possibilities are endless.

That's the amazing thing about life. There are stories happening around us all the time. Every single person is living out THEIR story. If you take a few moments to observe what's going on around you, you'd be amazed at the sites you see and the things you learn. People watching; fun for everyone, good for the soul, and inspiration for a writer.


  1. I'm so excited for you! You have to let me know how everything goes and what you learn at the conference.

    Good luck and have lots of fun!

  2. My favourite people watching place is near the entrance/exit of Epcot's World Showcase at the International Gateway. Sitting on the benches relaxing after a long day of food-ing and wine-ing, or during the Christmas trips. Sipping on a yard of Stella or nibbling on some chips loaded with vinegar, watching all the happy and some not so happy faces, along with some not so sober people.
    Yes people watching is a great pastime. If only Epcot had a special $5 pass where you could just nip inside and sit on those benches and soak in all the emotions of a long theme park day... PLUS you can still see some of the fireworks, which lets face it, is the real reason we go to the parks!

  3. I agree with you that life is amazing. Opportunities, inspirations in every where all the times. It is awaiting for the writers to grab and make use of it to the fullest. The writer's role here is how to turn it into a really interesting and aspiring story for his readers. it is really fun yet challenging task to enrich and inspire every reader.

    God bless and look forward to hearing from you,


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