The Prompter Room

For Sunday, November 22, 2015:


“Writers aren’t exactly people.  They’re a whole lot of people trying to be one person.”

F. Scott Fitzgerald

If you are, or know anyone who is, a quilter or a fabric artist, you have or know about a stash of fabrics.  Like readers and writers in a bookstore, quilters find it almost impossible to leave a fabric store without at least one new piece of material.  It doesn’t matter how many unfinished projects are on the worktable, you still have to have that yardage or swatch or quarter.

I collect people the same way.  Not specific individuals, not even types of people, but bits and pieces of them as we go through our daily lives.  Every time I go out in public, I pay attention to and observe on some level everyone I pass or who passes me.  Like the quilter who looks for a piece of fabric with stars or glitter or a pattern of some sort ‘just in case,’ I listen for snippets of conversation, others’ facial expressions, posture, ways of walking, and add them to my ‘stash’ for later use when crafting characters and scenes.

I suspect most writers do this.  If there were a way to autopsy a writer’s brain to find all the people, real and unreal, who populate his or her thinking, I believe there would be a collection as full as a quilter’s fabric closet.  I know there would be myriad patterns-in-process in my brain, all waiting for that ‘just right’ sentence or metaphor, shrug, smile or tears, generated by a visit to the mall or Post Office or grocery store, to add needed perspective or finishing pieces.

I rather like the idea of being a collection of people!


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