One of the first pre-requisites of being a writer, I think, will surely involve attentiveness. I mean, Ernest Hemingway liked to frequent the local establishments to watch the patrons and pick up interesting traits for his characters. If you’re reading along, you’ve read that on my blog before. Can you imagine asking him if he noticed anything interesting on his latest adventure and he answered something like, “No, I didn’t have time. I got so involved talking to the bar keep.” I bring this up because I had a conversation the other day that left me quite befuddled. I mentioned a movie, Wuthering Heights to a person, because I had been trying to say something about Laurence Olivier. And as I’m writing this I just realized, the individual also didn’t know that movie star. They furrowed a brow, shook their head and asked, “What’s the movie called?” I repeated myself, but they still didn’t know the film of which I spoke. Let me just add, this person is only five years younger than myself.
I brought this up to a friend, who frowned, and asked, “What? You’ve got to be kidding?” Because she couldn’t wrap her head around any of this. Now, all of that led to this post on awareness. Can I just say it all blew me away, the same as my friend. As writers, I believe we are born curious. And, yes, it’s as important as syntax. I remember asking someone, quite awhile ago, about an illusion. Her answer, “I don’t know, you’re the writer.” Meaning, if people perceive us as such, then yes, we cannot disappoint. But, writer or not, wouldn’t you just know certain things. Of course, everyone is not interested in everything, or even the same things. Nevertheless, I have to say, and I’m sorry, but I have no tolerance for disregard. I can’t imagine a person’s life being so busy they can’t take in the day, notice the leaves falling to the ground, or say they have never heard of a movie so classic the regular Joe walking the street knows of it. I mean, think about it. Don’t you think that’s like asking someone; is it cold in the winter where you live? Am I right? Or, what stop do you get off on the train? I bring that up, because I did that once, and the person couldn’t answer me. I still don’t know how a person could make it home. What would you do, count the stops?
Anyway, this writer understands there is an exception to this perplexing encounter. The exclusion is of course, you’re under forty. In being fair, I believe if you’re that age there is a strong chance you haven’t heard of my movie. Speaking of that age group, I guess I could liken this incident to someone being asked if they’d seen the picture “Titantic?” Now, if you’re in that group, can you conceive of a person’s response to that question as – “Nope, never heard of it.” It makes me a little sad for the friends and family. But, on the other hand, they’d probably all be the same – that would be a requirement for their relationship, would it not? I truly had no intention of being mean, like I said my patience for this type thing has, without doubt, waned with age.
But regardless, writer or not, I don’t believe you have to tell yourself to stop and “smell the flowers” when you pass the garden every morning. Even when you were on your way to the subway from your brownstone on that morning walk last spring, did you not notice the new buds on the tree half way down the block? How about the one hundred cloud animals on that two-hour flight to Florida? Hubby, and I are always discussing how some people simply and easily do not notice the beauty around them. Maybe people are this way because they are indifferent, or maybe they have an unhappy life; who knows. I remember many years ago, a home room teacher telling her class – if nothing else, take notice of the headlines on the morning paper everyday. Yes, that is the other end of this spectrum, but still the same thing, if you will. All these years, and that remains in my brain. But added to that, how can a person step out of the house, and not catch sight of the eagle in the tree across the street, or the lavender spread across an autumn sunset. I’m left thinking once more, maybe it’s upbringing, or it could be inbred. Whatever it is, if I were not a writer I could not envision myself beginning, or ending my day without being able to tell you of that eagle, or that sunset. Please, weigh in won’t you?
Image courtesy of 123rf.com