Writers are curious creatures. Just as artists in general are. An artist can look at something and see the various colors, textures and composure of a subject then portray it through their choice of medium in a beautiful, unique way.
While I am not the worst artist in the world, I certainly do not have the eye for art that others do. It’s something I have always envied about my more artistic friends. It seems effortless for them to paint somebody’s likeness but when I try to do the same thing the paints don’t blend and swirl the same and my end product is very far from a masterpiece.
I am slightly better with drawing.
An interesting thing about writers though, is while we might look at the same thing that the painter does, we may not be able to paint it visually, but we paint it with our words.
For some of us, it comes much easier, but for others, just like painters…it takes some time and some work. For myself, I did it more in practice than I ever realized. When I was a teenager, before I started making the big bucks at my part-time job, I would go hang out with my friends and people-watch at the big strip mall. I’d look at how people walk, what they wear, the faces they make, and how they act toward each other. Sometimes I would even jokingly “translate” peoples’ conversations to my friends. (childish, I know, but highly amusing).
I never thought much of these times wasted in good company until now. Those faces, those expressions, that walk….all these things I observed in amusement have turned into a type of encyclopedia in my head. Sometimes I will be sitting and attempting to write about a certain emotion and the way the character is showing it and I’ll remember the facial expressions I have catalogued from my time spent people-watching.
And then I just paint.
When Dillan had arrived back, Trey had been standing at the window with his back straight, shoulders tense, and his fists clenched. A seething grimace caused the corners of his eyes to twitch around an unfocused glare. The room was completely void of sound, yet he didn’t even notice her entering the room.
It is something I find challenging at times, but it is one of my favorite aspects of writing. I still quietly observe the world around me for inspiration, for more ideas and descriptions I can catalogue away for later use. Whether its observing the widely-varying array of people that work in my building during lunch, or breathing in the damp heat of Florida’s rainy season while I wait for my husband to pick me up from work. I make the most of these quiet times alone. To outsiders I may seem like a broody loner, but my friends and family know that this is just me, the writer.