Tuesday, January 27, 2009

STORIES AND CHARACTERS LOST & FOUND

ON WRITING

I’m often asked where I find my ideas for stories and characterizations. This question affords me the opportunity to sound off about one of the benefits of growing older. I met so many diverse characters while growing up. And, as an adult working as a designer, being invited into people’s homes and various locales exposed me to a great number of unusual experiences. I found myself in far-fetched and wildly disparate locations. I worked with an assorted mix-match of wealthy, comfortable, and borderline poor clients. Some were savvy, and some were ignorant. Some were decent, and some were awful. Some were clean, and some were filthy. 

I’ve given birth to five children, (yes five.) And I’ve had a long-lasting relationship with my husband. I've had one father, one mother, and two stepmothers, eight uncles and nine aunts, too many cousins to number, one brother, one sister, a nephew, and four nieces. Plus my grandchildren. Yikes. That’s a lot of material to work with!

But, I’ve come to believe, it’s important that you have the mindset of a writer if you want to write anything worth reading.

I watch and I watch and I observe those around me.

I know how to shut up and listen.

Wait…being able to listen…that’s valuable. But it can also be painful. If you really listen, you hear the silent tears, you see the hidden pain, you feel others remorse and regrets, their rawness will be exposed, and it’s hard to look. To look at others uncovered is to see your own limitations bared. This becomes a tool and a sword, the pen and the paper. The story.


All Rights Reserved. © 2009 by Elizabeth Bradley.

1 comment:

PopArtDiva said...

Wow, I really loved the last line, "To look at others uncovered is to see your own limitations bared. This becomes a tool and a sword, the pen and the paper. The story."

I get somewhat the same question as an artist "where do you get your ideas?". I'm not as gracious about it as you are being here! You shame me into being a little more giving to those who ask this question.