Every morning my commute takes me down the backside of the happiest place on earth (now there is a blog waiting to be written) and I always enjoy watching the employees on their way from the parking lot to the job. Sometimes I see solitary workers hustling across the street as I wait at the stoplight and sometimes it’s a whole group. Today I saw two men wearing faded blue jeans, with dark gray sweatshirts, holding identical red & white Igloo coolers. You know the kind I mean, the ones that hold a twelve pack and still have room for a sandwich or two. The both had white construction helmets on their head as well. As they crossed the street in the cross walk, they walked side by side in almost military precision, with shoulders squared and eyes straight ahead. As I sat there watching the duo I knew I wanted to use that as a description in a book sometime. They had a very uniform look, from the way they were dressed down to the swing of the Igloo coolers they both carried. The sun shone down to give the helmets and the white on the cooler a brightness that would have been lacking on a gloomy day. They could have been the Stepford husbands on their way to the job.
It’s not a description that I can work into my current project, but I committed the brief encounter to memory for future use. Then as I continued past Magic Way, I wondered how many times writers do what I had done. Experience something and as you are experiencing it, you are also tucking it away for future use. I think I do it without even realizing it most of the time. The other description I will definitely use one day is the row of palm trees that line the street and how on a gorgeous day in Mickey Mouse land, the palm fronds glisten in the sunlight as it streams down, and the the tips sway back and forth in the gentle breeze. Just the memory of those moments gives me a feeling of peace and contentment. Every experience in life, no matter how small, can be summoned up as a writer to use as background, integrated into a character, or provide the turning point for your work. Who’s to say how or even when you will use it in the future.
Without experience to draw on, could we write?
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