Monday, March 11, 2013

Writers' Wiles

The family glides into the restaurant. Two children, a boy and a girl, and a teen. Their dad leads the way. They sit at the table next to me and peruse the plastic-covered menus. Silent. Good grief, I’ve never seen such a silent family.

I’m torn. Should I feel sorry for them or should I wonder at the family dynamics? What would cause a family to be so still, so detached from each other?

After a few moments, the little boy, probably ten years old, speaks up. It’s as if a curtain has been torn asunder. Quiet chatter, bits of laughter, and tapping toes tell me they live. They are not specters come to haunt.

Yikes! The teen is a woman. She’s so young. I wonder if she’s the mom or the nanny. Or??? Hidden behind a column is the fifth member of the family. I missed her, the youngest, a girl.

Being a writer is an odd thing. As a youth, I was taught to keep my eyes lowered, my mouth shut, and my ears closed.

Nowadays, I do research. That’s the excuse I use for overlong stares, blatant eavesdropping, and rampant ear-stretching to catch phrases and conversations for my own use.

Folk say my dialogue is fluent and real. Perhaps it’s because I listen and watch and empathize.

I’m just glad Sister Mary Aloysius can’t see me!

Life is research. *g*

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