observation // just a saturday drive

September 18, 2017

Happy Monday everyone! Hope you all had a lovely morning of over sized checked shirts, licorice tea, and sorting through your papers ...??? (ok, this may not be exactly relevant to you xD) I really like to write short stories and post them but it takes weirdly long to get such posts ready -- that's why I don't do it often. But here I am again, and this time it's all about observing inspiration! I'm not entirely sure I'd consider this a real short story, but I rather like the idea! Have fun!



Just A Saturday Drive

It's one of those cloudy but hot Saturdays and you wish you were back at your desk at home, comfortably wasting time on your laptop, but instead you are sitting in the car accompanying your dad to the store, tolerating the front seat that seems way to straight-backed for some reason. 

And what do you do when there's silence between you because the jazz is on trying to keep you relaxed? You look out the window and you watch.

You watch the town pass -- the town so ordinary, so mismatched, so dull. There's nothing noteworthy about those houses, either they are spotless and huge and gray or rundown like shacks. The restaurants too -- would you want to step inside one just for the charm? Oh no, you can't see any charm.  Or the stores that line the streets? They are but blocks, chunks of brick, dropped in the first empty lot and painted with a sign that says "mall".

Then finally you pass a bus stop -- or rather, a crooked sign that says it is one -- and in front of your eyes flashes the sight of a young guy sitting on the ground with one knee up, overdressed in his blue sweater with the hood pulled over his head. He has ear buds on and that longish golden hair of his hides his face as he bends over his phone. And you take it all in, and two seconds later it's gone, but for some reason, you still wish you could make him lift his head up and get that hair away from his eyes. You wonder who he was and where he is going.

You keep you eyes on the sidewalks you drive by, observing everyone you see.

That man, putting a guitar into his trunk -- did he just purchase it from that pawnshop? Does he play it? And how well?

Those two women, walking and talking together, did they just meet on the street corner, or have they been bosom friends since they were eleven? Or perhaps they are long-ago rivals, who just made their peace?

And do you ask, as you pass the crowded parking lot of the theatre, what movie is playing inside, and who the star of the show is? And if the star was once as unknown and ordinary as you?

The workmen working on the railroad --- when did they decide to do that for a job? Do they realise they are one reason the world still goes round?

And you think back to that blond boy, don't you, and you wonder whether he ever imagined someone saw him at that bus stop, and that someone preserved that memory?


You watch as you pass by construction, and a bridge, until you finally reach your destination. In the music store, you observe that family looking for instruments just like you. You wonder who is the musician there? Is it that blond girl with glasses who looks about your age? And does she, like you, have a dream, and is she chasing after it even now?

When you leave the store, you notice Teen Challenge on the other side of the street. Do you ask what they do? Or do you imagine the people they have helped, and do you dream of joining them one day?

And that tall woman with black hair and weathered face who walks by quickly before you back up, does she realise that right now you find her peculiarly beautiful?

And you remember then how this all began. That boy with the blue sweater, does he know he was a flash of inspiration to a writer? Does he think that perhaps next week he will be famous to twenty people who read about him from the story she crafted in her mind?

As you continue on your return journey, you keep looking still. That girl with the tattoo on her shoulder -- why did she get it? What does it mean to her?

Those two young Chinese people -- are they married? Or engaged? How did they meet? Or are they by chance a brother and sister? How would you know?

The boy on the corner with that curly chocolate hair ... if there was an apocalypse, how do you know he isn't the chosen one to save the world? Or maybe ... is there a chance he'd be a villain? Would destiny give him a sidekick? You ... perhaps?

An old man who rides the bike one handed with the other in a cast -- how did he break it? And how does he cope? Is it a burden to him? Does he have help? Or is he thankful despite his circumstances?

You blink a few times as you notice a long haired fellow in a blue suit in front of the bank -- he looks so out of place. Who is he? Where does he work that he would have to wear that? Does he wish he could escape the clutches of that suit? Or does he  ... actually ... like ... it?

Suddenly you realise that forty-five minutes have passed, and you are nearly back home. 

That boy who wore the ear buds -- will he ever know that forty-five minutes later he still lives in your mind? And that maybe he taught you something?

But do you think, as you leap out of the car and run to your door, about all the people who saw you? Do you ask if they pitied you, or stared at you, or admired you? If a casual gesture of yours spoke to them, or if perhaps you are famous somewhere unknown? Do you wonder if you were a flash of inspiration to someone else?

No, you don't. All you do is run to your desk, and flip open your laptop, and try to condense your observation skills into 750 words.


*   *   *




what about you?
do you ever get random bursts of inspiration from observation?

[also if any of you are interested in a really cool four week shared wip tag project that works like a link-up go over to Julian Daventry's blog! It's all going to be about your writing and I promise you'll like it!]

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23 comments

  1. Okay. That. Was. Cool! I highly approve, and find myself doing the same sorts of things when on road trips. (Though sometimes I find myself doing that when I brought some writing to do instead, and then do I not find this sort of thing okay...)

    I wish I could write more short stories, but I end up making them too long. But I love reading them!

    And thanks for linking to my post! I was just casually scrolling down to make a comment, and about had a heart attack with I saw my name!

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    1. THANK YOU JULIAN <333 Oh do you? That is so cool in itself! And I realize how distracting it can be sometimes!

      Lol :D Well you should give it a try sometime! And yes it is hard to keep things concise -- but that's what I love about short stories. Trying to pack as much punch into as few words as possible!

      My pleasure! I told you I would ;) Oh that's like the best reaction ever -- happens to me too every so often xD

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  2. Ahhh this is so cool!!! I people watch so much and it's so much fun... but I've never been able to capture this kind of detail. Thanks for sharing. Arghhhh you're making me want to go people watch.

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    1. THANKS ELAIKIE :D You do too? That's so awfully good to know! Well, you ought to try sometime xD Basically for the entire car ride (because this was an adapted version of what happened to me) I just drafted in my head EXACTLY HOW IT WAS WRITTEN HERE as I saw each person. I just talked to myself in my head. the. entire. time. But that's so great! Go watch them then! (but be inconspicuous, okay?) xD

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  3. YES, JULIAN'S AWESOME TAG!!!

    Lisa, this was amazing!!! To think how something so small inspires us and makes us want to create something big is just so ... I'm at a loss for words. This was so great. <3

    ~Ivie
    iviewrites.blogspot.com

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    1. I KNOW ISN'T IT!?

      <3333 You're the best. It's true I can't even either!!! I MEAN HELLO DO YOU KNOW LIKE SOMETIMES JUST ONE LINE IN SOMEONE'S RANDOM POST MAKES ME WANT TO WRITE A FULL BOOK??? And did that person think that? Um no of course not. It all goes to show every. single. word. you write and every. single. thing. you do COUNTS SO MUCH MORE THAN YOU CAN IMAGINE.

      <333

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  4. WOW. I was just going to make a bit of a comment about how over the winter I practically lived in my great-grandfather's old flannel shirts (check + longsleeved), but this post needs more of a comment than that. ;)

    For a start, you have an amazing writer's brain - everything is taken through your story filter, and I bet that helps when you need characters or details or a potential twist.

    And this post has such a strange (but very beautiful) thought! We don't normally consider whether the strangers walking past us remember us later. We don't wonder if the person who sees us walk past every day makes up background stories for us, a new one every time we do something different. We don't ever think we're interesting enough for a complete stranger to write about, but obviously it happens. We don't ever think WAH WHAT IF I'M BEING WATCHED BY A WRITER. ;P
    Jem Jones

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    1. REALLY? Oversized men's check shirts are like THE BEST THING EVER. I love mine cause it's mostly red like autumn leaves xD And I got it from this family friend -- it was supposed to be for her husband but it was too small for him!

      WOW THANKS. It's actually true that this is always a good thing to do! You should read this guest post on the blog Scattered Scribblings about how it helps writers!!! And I like to think of this one quote "experience is not about what happens to a man but what a man does with what happens to him" and that is what I want to do. CREATE EXPERIENCES FOR MYSELF. And you know what I do with what happens to me? create stories of course xD

      YEAH YOU SUMMED UP MY THOUGHTS EXACTLY. We always watch people out of our windows (those who live on our street but who we don't know) and speculate such crazy things -- it's hilarious but then HEY THEY MUST DO IT TO US TOO :p

      Um true and you know -- WHAT IF YOU GET PUT IN A NYT BESTSELLER SOMEDAY????

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  5. This is one of the most beautiful, thought-provoking story-ish things ever!!! (totally using precise language over here, lol) LISA, THIS IS SO COOL. I often glance at the people driving the cars that pass me on the street and think about the fact that they probably have a very different destination from mine, or from the person driving in front us. I note their features, the expression on their face, and think about the fact that they had a childhood, they have a dream, they have lots and lots of memories of all kinds stored in their brain. Their life is as vivid and complex as my own. IT'S SUCH A WEIRD THOUGHT.

    Anyway, I'm probably going to think about this almost every time we drive somewhere now! XD At least frequently.

    AH-MAZ-ING POST. I CAN'T EVEN.

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    1. OHMYWORD YOU ARE SO SWEET <333 Really?? I'm like really surprised how many of you actually do the same thing??!!?? YEAH THAT IS SO ME. Like, these people ... THEY ARE PEOPLE JUST LIKE US. They are not just some random strangers. IF YOU HAD THE CHANCE TO KNOW THEM ALL ... just how can you express the awe when you realize that??

      *nods* yep that would be super cool! THANKYOUTHANKYOUTHANKYOU you are so amazing :D

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  6. I really liked that. I think it quite accurately describes the interior of my brain. XD I have had literally all those thoughts in your story before.

    I'm the one in the family who always says, "Did you see *insert the person I was observing*?" And they al give me blank looks.

    Very well done, Lisa. (:

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    1. Thanks Zane!! NO KIDDING?? WOW *high fives* well GREAT MINDS THINK ALIKE, as they say xD

      D: That is too bad. My folks join right along and we come up with insane ideas!!!

      <3333

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    2. My brother does, sometimes, and sometimes we'll all speculate about a certain person. But I think I'm the most observant, haha. I usually point out people XD

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  7. Love this! I do that all the time when I am in the car, and I constantly wonder if maybe someone has ever done it to me.
    Beautiful!

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    1. SERIOUSLY YOU ALSO?? UMM WOW. I'm amazed -- and SO PLEASED.

      Thanks for commenting <333

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  8. This is great! I do this often, though not as often as I'd like. People are fascinating and a great source of inspiration!

    Also, everyone should check out Jules' shared tag. It's going to be awesome!

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    1. Thanks Sarah! SO TRUE SO TRUE. It's character study obviously!!!

      YEAH EVERYONE LISTEN TO SARAH IT'S TRUE YOU SHOULD <333

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  9. This is so cool! I'm not sure if I'm going to do the tag or not, but I want to. :)

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    1. THANK YOU GRAY. You should check it out if you have time! And you can always just message Julian about it if you aren't sure! It'd be awesome to have you too!

      <333

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  10. WOW this is so well done Lisa! Your short stories are bomb and so descriptive/unique ;)<3

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    1. YOU LIKE MADE MY DAY WHEN YOU SAID THAT <333 thanks a million girl :D You're so encouraging!!!

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  11. Oh my goodness, Lisa. This... this is the coolest thing ever. I LOVE people watching and I do it whenever I'm out in public, but I'e never put my experiences into words?? UGH THIS IS THE BEST THING EVER. I am super inspired and now I want to go watch people (wow that sounds stalker-ish. xD)

    You have such a gift with words. <3

    katie grace
    a writer's faith

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    1. Katie! YOU ALSO??? Goodness that's awesome!! You should totally try to one day, but even just jotting it for yourself would be cool! THANK YOU SO MUCH *hugs* HAHAHA TRUE (TRY TO STAY INCONSPICUOUS TOO OKAY?) I once read a short story about this very thing -- this girl was sitting in a cafe just watching people and writing it down and she was watching this one boy who later came over to talk to her and guess what? HE WAS DOING THE EXACT SAME THING. ugh now I spoiled it for you. If you ever get the chance to read it you'll realize it was meant to be a surprise/twist thing at the end xD

      THANKS A HEAP <333

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