As a writer, I find myself looking at everyday situations in a different way than most people. For example, I was driving down a strip of highway the other day, and noticed a Saguaro cactus bent at an odd angle as if worshipping the sun’s unforgiving heat. Now to be honest, I drive this strip of highway a lot, and have probably seen this cactus dozens of times before, but I felt the urgent need in that moment to pull over and take a picture, sure that I would use that image one day in my writing. Was this a smart thing to do? Probably not as the traffic was speeding by at 75 miles an hour, but as a writer I was compelled to preserve that scene.
The other day a similar situation arose after I was in a minor traffic accident. The police were called to take a report of the damage. When the policeman arrived he began peppering me with questions, and while I answered them, I felt my mind wandering. I began examining the color and fabric of his uniform, and the way his firearm was nestled into the woven, leather holster at his side. All things considering, my mind should have been focused on the accident, but instead, I was trying to commit to memory the look, sound, and smell of the officer, thinking I could use his persona one day in a future scene.
So this left me wondering, do other writers do the same thing? Do they see potential in everyday people and places, and feel like they need to commit them to memory for a future MS? If you’re a writer, I’d love to hear if you are like me, and see the potential for a story everywhere. Do you do crazy things to be able to commit an object, person or place to memory thinking you might use it one day? Let me know. I’d love to hear from you.