Monday, August 5, 2013

Writing (About) Life: Found Moments

Do you know about found moments? They are the small incidents that occur in your daily life just for you to appreciate--or ponder. Like a big truck driver parked in the shade in the K-Mart parking lot, eating his lunch and feeding the birds out his window. Or the young boy busing the outside tables at Starbuck's, wearing his headphones and dancing up a storm like nobody was watching while he did it. Or the lone young man dressed in black, standing in the pouring rain in front of Chick-fil-A, holding up a wilted sheet of paper with rainbow stripes on it to the passing traffic--few of whom, I'm sure, had any idea what the rainbow meant.

You have to pay attention, though, or you'll miss these moments. With writers, it can go either way. Sometimes we're like walking sponges, and we soak up everything going on around us. Sometimes we're too far in the writing "zone" to notice anybody or anything.

But the other day I was paying attention, and here's what happened:

When I was in Dollar General, my home away from home (DH says if I didn't show up there every day, the DG people would call the house wanting to know what happened to me.) ANYWAY, there was a young guy in the store with a little girl who looked to be about six, and they were on a "merchandise tour." Sort of like "window shopping," as it were, only from the inside. They probably weren't buying much, but just looking at different things around the store--things the little girl wanted to show him and talk about, and vise versa. As far as I could tell, the little girl never asked if she could have this or that, but she was clearly enjoying herself, and I think he was, too. At one point, I was on the other side of the aisle of shelving where they were. I couldn't see what they were looking at and I didn't hear what the little girl said. But I heard him. He said, "Sure you can! Don't you ever let anybody tell you you can't do something because you're a girl." I rather liked that. 

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