A spider crawls across my wall. I shriek, call for help. I feel violated by this insect that has crept into my world. One author wrote a book called ‘Charlotte’s Web’, but I’m still waiting for a hero, someone who will dispose of the insect, crush, vacuum, spray or swat -- I don’t care. Get it out!
Writers often wait for epiphanies, stellar moments that ring their bells, when in fact, motivation sloshes around our ankles, waiting to be voiced. Worse, when pen hits paper, we regard our efforts as invincible moments of brilliance. We’re fakes, you know. Nothing resonates more sincerely than real life. It is the intangible connection to our readers, the thread that binds us together.
I have a snapshot, a moment in time, a wondrous dialogue that I’ll never forget and have yet to use. I was in Atlantic City, in a casino, a food court, as best I remember. A couple argued, she blaming the husband for a restaurant not being open.
“Norman, do something.” The Jersey accent was like an aphrodisiac to me. I was on high alert.
“We drove three hours for the lobster. Norman, are you listening?”
I liked this couple. It was fun watching the wife’s frustration and her arrows of blame.
And I liked Norman. It was obvious he’d tuned out.
“How much did you lose?” Norman said, eyeing the options in the food court.
“None of your business, Norman; I’m playing the nickel slots.” What I especially loved was the enunciation of the husband’s name, dragging it out with such focus that the sentence became an accusation. Was this a marital challenge? Were there winners and losers in this game? Was it a nickel, a closed down restaurant or an excuse to argue?
I have no idea why this vignette has stayed in my head, and yet it’s been festering for years, like an untold story that screams for an author.
Almost every day, dramas, melodramas and everyday circumstances feed us material to create stories. It really comes down to lighting, angle and perspective. A writer can be a member of the audience or a director, a passive witness or a creator. Which are you? What will you do with your spider?
copyright © 2014
♦ After a thirty year career as a sales and marketing executive, Ingrid Thomson is a top-ranked author in a website writing community and a published short story author who is working on the final draft of her first novel.
♦ This author's generous contributions help make P&S possible.