I have been a lifelong fan of Adventures in Odyssey which is the very best radio drama out there, in my opinion. They're so much more than "just stories for kids." I still look forward to each new album and impatiently wait for my mother to get done listening so I can borrow it. Philip Glossman, a notorious bad guy on the series, is voiced by Paul McCusker who is also a producer, writer and director of the show. During an interview I heard recently on this podcast, Paul described writers like this:
"I think any writer is absorbing - writers are leeches, okay, let me be clear about that. There is no human being we ever meet, no situation we encounter no matter how good or bad that there isn't part of us, somewhere in our brains where we're taking notes. We're always taking notes. We're taking our reality and filtering it through our writing. That's just the way we do it."
That's it. That's exactly it. I've done this for as long as I can remember. I don't do it well, yet. It's not as practiced and developed in me as it is in other writers. (I wouldn't even call myself a real "writer.")
This writer, for example has practiced and developed her skill. I'm in awe of her ability that appears so effortless (and she has two kids about the same age as mine!)
But I am always watching, observing and trying to remember and record. It doesn't matter if the situation is mundane or thrilling. I can't turn it off. It's like there's another version of me, a third party, a neutral fly-on-the wall that is taking notes and describing the situation. I'm constantly trying to figure out the best way to tell the story to which audience, always thinking of the perfect word formation or transition. If it doesn't come to me or I can't manufacture an acceptable alternative I'm very irritated at settling for second best, but the desire to write for the sake of writing usually takes precedence. Note: most of what I write on here is the second best. It's writing for the sake of writing. It's lazy writing. It's VERY tired writing. =)
In the past few years I've turned and watched myself watching people (wha?) and wondered if feeling a need to watch and take notes was a normal thing. No one else I know seems to do it. Well, a few, but we've always considered ourselves to be odd ducks.
I like to write, that's not a surprise to me, but until Paul phrased it like that I had never made the connection between the watching and mental note-taking and the urge to write. It makes SO much more sense now.
Of course writing (and a whole truck load of other things for that matter!) have all taken a backseat to my current role as caretaker of two precious little girls. But one day... some day... I hope to be able to nurture my writer-esque habits. Maybe even take some classes. There are so many stories I want to tell.