Saylor's Goodreads Bookshelf

Saylor's books

Animal Farm
Where the Sidewalk Ends
The Great Gatsby
To Kill a Mockingbird
The Catcher in the Rye
Of Mice and Men
The Alchemist
Slaughterhouse-Five
Me Talk Pretty One Day
Lord of the Flies
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
Little Women
Frankenstein
A Tale of Two Cities
The Count of Monte Cristo
Les Misérables
Moby-Dick or, The Whale
The Joy Luck Club
Middlesex
The Memory Keeper's Daughter


Saylor's favorite books »
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Sunday, September 11, 2011

Using everyday life in writing.

I am one of those people that complete strangers will come up and tell intimate details of their life too.  It happens randomly, every time I venture out of my home, and on vacations.  I am the person you hand your 500 dollar camera to and ask me to take your picture in front of the Eiffel Tower.  I am the person holding up the check out line because the checker has chosen to tell me about the cataract growing in her left eye - her latest health class homework assignment about her 50 or so cousins - his girlfriends dad that he is tight with. I am the person who holds up the airport security lines so they can rummage through my belongings with their filthy gloves.  (Happens every time I fly. Every time.)  I am the person you sat next to on the plane and decided to tell about you and your husbands plans to live a self sustaining life to - which apparently involved remodeling a 1967 stream liner. (Or whatever the hell it is.)  Men have sat next to me on airplanes and read porno magazines before disappearing to the bathroom for 5 minutes - yes I did time that.  In libraries people will insist on talking to me - out loud - about their grocery list and where they think they might find a cassava fruit.  (I don't even know what that is.)  At the oil change place a man will tell me about his first girlfriend, his muscle car he had when he was 18 and how he wrecked it, what I "oughta' do is", that "one" they don't like (I know, even I was lost on that one too), etc.

For a long time this annoyed me terribly.  I really just needed to get where I was going, remember everything on the errands list (which I inevitably leave at home), enjoy a vacation day without being stopped 6 times in one day to take their pictures, or get my oil changed in the promised 20 minutes.  No I didn't want to give you money, give or take advice, I can't give you medical or legal advice, I don't have any real good directions to get somewhere, I don't care what is on your mind and you feel the need to confide in me.  Really I don't.  And I still don't - but every since I started writing full time I've decided to use these experiences.  There is something wonderfully random about them.  People have their own agendas which somehow include these scraps of dialogue that tend to fall away from their conscious.  Do they go home and recount their day and think, "I told this random woman about my child's dysfunction." or "I asked this random person about my impending doom."  I'll bet they don't.  But there I am with this wonderful scrap.  What do I do with it?  I write it down.

Writing is a solitary job.  But because I am this person, I don't have a lot of "writers block"  because these experiences keep me in a constant state of "what if" mode.  In a pinch I've even been known to sit on public transit for a time and just wait.  I'll make up an errand and go into the bank - Boom, I'm being told about how a three year old child decided to drop the f-bomb at christmas dinner.

When I told my partner I was going to start blogging about writing she said, "Are you going to call it, "Random stuff people say to me?"  And of course I still hold out for someone to stop me and say, "Here's a thousand dollars.  You'll need it to start the marketing of your books, which you should do on these sites, and pay for the public relations.  And then once your finished with this series you should write the following..."

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