Creeps Stare. Writers Observe.

Paying more attention to the world around me. That was one of the goals I set for myself months ago when I took that leap off the cliff toward my new destiny.

Then subsequently landed face first on a rocky ledge. Realized I wasn’t quite ready to fly yet and am now in the process of slipping and sliding down the jagged path I should have taken in the first place.

But I digress…

Back to paying more attention to the world around me.

What I found when I really focused on it as a goal, is that I already do pay attention to the world around me. I always have. I watch a lot. I watch the birds as they lazily dip and rise above me on the winds. I watch the waves roll outward from the bow of a ship as it cuts its way through still water. I notice the slightly musty, yet inexplicably enticing, smell of the library book stacks. I hear the swooshing sound of tires on wet pavement and the hum of electronics in my home.

Also, I watch people. How they laugh. How they walk. What they are wearing. Their facial expressions when they are legitimately happy or when they are lying through their teeth. How they wring their hands when they are nervous. Or take a deep breath right before they step behind a podium to speak in front of people.

I really hadn’t noticed that I noticed all of this, until I made it a point to notice.

I observe a lot. A LOT. With things, it’s not really a big deal. People, well, let’s just say I can recall multiple uncomfortable moments in my life when my eyes locked with someone I had been unconsciously observing. Often, I don’t even know I’m doing it, until that moment. Something caught my attention and my creative brain began to process whatever peaked its interest. Then eyes lock. And I’m like, “Crap! I was staring.” So, I avert my eyes quickly. Then I look up to see if they realized I was staring. Eyes lock again.

Then there are those times I’m not really observing anything at all. Said person just happens to be in my line of sight but in truth, I am completely oblivious to the world around me while scenes and dialogue are rattling off in my brain. But, eyes lock. And the process repeats itself.

I can’t explain it really. Nor, apparently, can I stop it. I’m an observer. It is what it is. There is a good chance if you are ever in a room with me, that moment will happen, despite my best efforts to avoid it.

In truth, I have no idea where the stories and characters rattling around in my brain come from, but I have a sneaking suspicion that, while I wasn’t consciously doing it, my brain has been systematically building an index of character traits and scenes throughout my life. And little pieces of those moments work their way into my writing here and there.

I’m sure I’m not the only writer with this issue.

Or at least I hope not. Because then I’m just creepy.

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