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Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Embarrassment. Another Tool in your Writerly Toolbox

Personal experiences are a writer’s meat and potatoes. They breathe Life into our manuscripts and nail the reader to the scene. Sometimes the weirder the event the better, and Heaven knows, I’ve found myself in some peculiar circumstances.

Or, as my daughter says, shaking her head, “These things only happen to you, Mom.”

Consider these two gems from my very odd world:

The flocking on my small Christmas tree had turned dingy blah. I wanted to remove the material that once looked like snow but keep the tree. So, I did what anyone else would do; took it outside and started beating it on the sidewalk to dislodge the gross fibers. Enter stage left, the mailman who is staring at me, his mouth open wide enough to drive a truck through.

Question: Do you explain why you are beating up on an innocent tree or pretend you saw a spider?

An old doll cradle I was refinishing had lost several inch-size wooden balls on the headboard. Since I wanted to replace them, I went to the local lumberyard, walked up to the male clerk, and asked, “Do you have balls about this size?” making a circle with my thumb and finger.

He looked at me. I stared back. Without speaking, I turned and left the store.

Only you, Mom.

How to know you’re a writer?
  • When the hubby smashes his finger with a ten-pound hammer and you wonder how to use the screaming in a scene.
  • Human behavior in a mall is prime fodder for your wip.
  • People are suspicious when you stare at them in a mall.

Remember, a highly observant nature is essential to creativity. At least until your staring turns creepy, someone calls the cops, and the restraining order takes effect.

I leave you with a joke only a writer can appreciate:

A writer and her husband walked into a dentist's office.

"Doc,” the lady said. “I'm in one heck of a hurry. The storyline for my novel exploded in my head this morning, the characters and battle scene came together, and my mind is buzzing with the protag’s newest conflicts.  While the muse lives, I must write. So, forget about the anesthetic, I don't have time for the gums to get numb. I just want you to pull the tooth, and be done with it so I can return to my keyboard.”

My goodness, the dentist thought. What a very brave woman she is. Above all else, writing must be her life.

"Which tooth is it ma’am?" the dentist asks.

The writer turned to her husband. "Open your mouth, Honey, and show him."


Patchi said...

Maybe that's why my husband insists on going to the dentist on his own...

Janie Junebug said...

Hilarious post. Thank you. I've told Favorite Young Man for years that I gave birth to him so he could be fodder for my writing. Truth is always stranger than fiction. The best writing is based on some sort of reality. I love the dentist joke.


Liz A. said...

Still laughing...

mshatch said...

lol. I've used my own pain before. In fact, it's one of the first things I think of (in between all the bad words my dad taught me): I need to remember this; I might be able to use it later...

Neurotic Workaholic said...

That's so funny! I've embarrassed myself on multiple occasions; I always carry Band-Aids with me because I trip and fall in public on a regular basis.

Marabella said...

Loved the joke! Airports are another great place to people watch. I once saw a woman that looked like she had stepped right out of Harry Potter; big hat, mismatched long skirt, blouse and jacket and an old fashioned carpet bag. I wrote down her description because I was of course, writing about the people I saw in the terminal.

Huntress said...

A little background is needed here.

I never told my hubby about the trip to the lumber yard. He found out about it here.

He laughed so hard his voice cracked. I told him, "and don't you DARE remind them about that visit either."


HA! Flogging the flocking. I have no comment on the wooden balls and tooth...

Kristin Smith said...

I totally laughed out loud to the writer/dentist joke. Too funny!!

Great post, Huntress!