Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Life as a writer isn't always about writing

The art of writing is sometimes relaying observation.  In my case, writing contemporary romance, I watch people very closely.  I see how they interact with other people and how their eyes change when you know they are lonely.  I can tell that a couple has shared fifty good years by the way they still  hold hands, or a young couple isn't seeing eye to eye.

Of course its so much more than just observing body language or specific looks.  It's watching human nature with a fresh set of eyes and choosing to take what I learn and apply it.

Last week I blogged about the moment I gave up the word hate.  I took a slap to the face and changed my life.  In the past week I've been inundated with moments which I've embraced and held on too.  I came across a 99 year old woman, at a Taco Bell.  She was smiling.  She wore bangle bracelets on both arms.  I was moved that she was in public, on her own, dressed so nice, and smiling.  She walked out of the restaurant and drove away in her own car.  But what stuck with me was loneliness in her eyes.  Yes, it was there, but you know she was still living her life and it was as if she silently said to me, "Its all worth it."

I'm very keen on watching my children grow and taking every morsel and savoring it.  Is it all good, no.  We have arguments.  At times I'm a bad mommy, but even those moments are important.  I know for a fact I'm the easily distracted mommy who works too much.  I catch myself hoping they don't notice that I'm not interacting with them, but they see that I'm in the same room.  But you know, they notice.  IF I sit down to watch TV not one of the five of them misses the opportunity to say, "this is nice that you're sitting with us."  There have been some tears, shed in my closet of course, just thinking about how the days are slipping from me to have a house full of messes and noises.  Next year one goes to high school, another to middle school, and three move up in elementary school.  Once upon a time I had a first grader, a preschooler, two toddlers and an infant and I thought things were hard.  But because my eyes are wide open and I'm very in tune with what's going on around me, and I commit each feeling to memory, I make sure to lean from each moment.  I hug.  I compliment.  I just sit and watch in amazement at how wonderful my life is.  And I make sure to take those moments where I need to work, and I go swimming, play basketball, or sit and watch TV with my boys instead.

Today as I was running on the track at the rec center I was again moved by my observations of humanity.  There was a couple walking and when I came around behind them I realized the woman was walking very close to her husband, holding on to his shirt as if maybe she needed a little support.  Another lap and I stopped to stretch.  They were on the bench and I realized he was recovering, from what I would imagine, was a mild stroke.  They had a drink, took a rest, and then headed back out to the track with her holding on to his shirt to support him.  It still brings tears to my eyes.  My heart squeezes when I think about that couple.  What happened to him?  What did that do to her?  But there she was, helping him heal, her hand holding tight to his shirt.

Being a writer has made me observe everything.  But sometimes it goes so much deeper and because I'm a writer I'm observing life and learning to live it.


  1. Very lovely post, Bernadette! :-) It's true that as authors we look at the world differently, perhaps through our own little microscope - looking for tiny details, actions, reactions, beauty in something that might not appear beautiful to the average person. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the subject & may you have continued success with your writing! :)

  2. Thank you, Jan, for your very nice comments :) Best to you!

  3. I like to go people watch everywhere I go. You can really learn alot just by watching people. Always know-no matter how bad your day/week/month/year has been-there is always someone who has it worse then you do. That always makes me realize no matter how bad my situation is-I'm ok and will get through it. Smile it makes them wonder what your up too.

  4. You are such a fine example of making the best of a situation which stinks! :) You are a true inspiration in this department. You always make me happy and lift me up! Thank you for that!