As a writer, I have an obligation to pay attention to the world. I have a duty to report the findings to my readers in my written words. To weave the results into a piece of work that can shed light on the tragic and magnificent events that abound around us. I was inspired by this quote many moons ago and found it an inspiration.
I write my musings into journals, (I have so many journals) and sometimes I revisit them when I need a reminder of my “why”. I am currently struggling with a particular piece, I simply cannot get the depth from my character that I want. She is refusing to give up her secrets. It is the details I need. This quote popped into my head. I remembered writing this down the day I first read the quote and thought it may inspire you to keep track of the details around you. Details are what keep writers writing.
“A writer, I think, is someone that pays attention to the world.” –Sontag
It’s peculiar how when one pays attention to the world that the awe of what is common can appall.
The man filthy rags draped over a thin frame, a cardboard sign in his hand requesting nothing but the change I have casually tossed in the bottom of my purse. I miss seeing the man that served this country. When I look closer, he is standing prouder, his hand lifted in salute and not from need but in service. Do I miss the beauty of his smile because it may have dimmed in the harshness of PTSD? My observation of this man, do not make up the man but are circumstances of the man.
The weary woman struggling to negotiate the awkward furniture to a moving van? Did I even notice when she lost this house because her husband was no longer there? I missed the pain in her eyes as she consoles her child at the loss of not only her father but everything she has ever known? I missed the detail of a wounded soul.
The elderly woman, she steps carefully around the gas pump. She reads the instructions and is bewildered. How could a woman of these many years not know the workings of such a simple machine? Last week, her husband came here and filled her tank, like he had done since the first week they were married. He rests now, in a bed, miles away as she struggles to ensure a reunion.
I will write your stories. I will keep them safe. I will not let you be unseen. I will pay attention to my world.
I would like you to know, that just the exercise of typing out this little memory has helped me remember my promise and duty to my readers. I will put the stories on the page and share them and the details.