By Marcia Mickelson
I'm a people watcher. I watch people. I can't help it. I think that partly, it's the writer in me. I just am so curious about people, what they're doing, where they're going. I hope I don't come off as rude sometimes because I'm staring at them, but people watching has helped me come up with story ideas or characters.
I might get a face in my head and think about that person's story or else I might come back to them later if I'm trying to imagine what one of my characters looks like. With the story I'm working on right now, I have the image of a woman I saw at a parade once. She was middle aged, had red hair and delicate facial features. She is now my character, Vivian, the main character's mother who is actually dead. She is just exactly what Vivian is supposed to look like. I spent a good part of the parade watching this woman--she just seemed so right. I hope she didn't think I was weird. Actually, I am weird.
I am now on the lookout for what my character, David, is supposed to look like. I am constantly watching people tyring to find the perfect David. I once saw a man at a pizza place that almost looked like him, but I didn't get a very good look at him and can't recall exactly what he looked like. He probably would have thought I was rude if I asked to take a picture of him for the character I was writing. I can't do that. But, I'm still on the lookout. Hopefully, no one out there will think me weird.
A few weeks ago, I was at Home Depot where there was a huge line of people waiting for plywood to cover windows in preparation for the hurricane. I couldn't help myself. I had to look at the line over and over again. It was such a curious phenomenon, and I kept looking at them. One man in line even asked me, "you looking at the animals at the zoo?" I was so embarrassed. I didn't mean to be rude, but I'm just a people watcher. I felt pretty bad about that. I'll just have to be more discreet from now on.
Well, if I find my David, I'll let you know. Until then, I'm still looking.