Sunday, April 5, 2015

Sunday Musings: April 5 2015

Happy Passover and Easter...Happy Spring to all Musers.

Have you ever been called nosey? Do you have the memory of an elephant? Does anything ever get by you?

To be honest, I've been considered nosey. I've pretended to forget things in order to keep the peace. And, yeah, there isn't a whole lot I miss. Now with that said, it's not because I try. I'm just a people watcher, a window looker-outer, wallflower who likes to listen.

I'm just...observant.

Let's see how our Musers muse:

Are writers more observant or more nosey?


Writers may not be "more" observant, but they observe differently. My husband says I'm oblivious to a lot of normal things, but I notice oddball stuff. For example, I'll remember the way a shadow cast a negative image of something and how it looked. I'll remember one quote someone said, but forget the rest of the conversation. I file away the strange to keep for later to add to my stories.

I can't speak for all writers, but I would say that for me being nosy is part and parcel of being a writer. As a child I used to sneak out of bed and sit at the top of the stairs when I was supposed to be asleep, so that I could listen to what the adults talked about when they thought there were no children around. I have a bad habit of eavesdropping on other people's conversations - on the train, on the bus, in restaurants. Mobile phones are very good for the nosy writer, since people are happy to carry on the sort of personal conversations they would have never dreamed of having in public before mobile phones came along. And if you can't hear the other side of the conversation, you just imagine what it might be from what you can hear.

I would go further and say nosiness is essential to learning one's craft as a writer. All I've learned about writing realistic dialogue I have learned from listening to real people's conversations.

DAWN KNOX, author

I'm not sure if I would describe myself as either observant or nosy but I'm certainly inquisitive. A question which often pops into my mind is 'What if?' and my imagination usually answers it with some flight of fancy. This is probably why there is usually an element of the fantastic in the stories I write.

For me, writing is more complicated than simply recording events about the people around me or about historical figures. Since studying photography, I find that I 'see' more of the world. I have become more observant. I'm looking for the perfect shot and I often compose photos in my head even when I haven't got my camera to record what I'm seeing but my writing isn't like that. It draws on memories and events then mixes and matches emotions and actions to fit in with my plot.

One of the first ideas I had about writing 'Daffodil and the Thin Place' was when visiting an elderly relative. She kept warning us to keep our voices down in case the lady next door was listening through the wall. My stomach started to rumble and I wondered what the next door neighbour would make of that! And then, it prompted me to wonder what would happen if stomachs actually talked...


I'm nosey. It would be a lie if I said I ignore animated conversation or raised voices in my vicinity. I can't help but be drawn into their drama although I don't participate. The very idea makes every non confrontational cell in my body go haywire. I'm also curious about people, their lifestyle, the way they move their body to express themselves, or why they appear sad, emotional or whatever mood I'm picking up.

At least now I can blame my curiosity on writing. Ha!

I guess I can only speak for myself. From when I was a girl I loved to listen to what other people were saying. Sometimes I didn't understand what they said, but I still listened. Now I also love to listen to people everywhere. When I'm in Starbucks I listen to the people at tables and behind the counter. In other places, like on a line anywhere I listen.

I don't think it's nosy, rather more observant. How can a writer be true to a place, for example, if you don't know the everyday speech of the people there. Also you hear patterns of the different speech dialects as well as occasionally find out something that might inspire you to write. So no we're not nosy. We are observant gathering seeds for our writing.


Writers are definitely more observant than the average person. From the curve of a handsome man's neck, to the pattern on a china cup to snatched snippets of conversation on the train, I am always on the lookout for new ideas. I save these little nuggets in my memory bank for future reference. Sometimes I am so inspired that I rush home and brainstorm associated ideas immediately.

I replicate the same thing on the internet with Pinterest. If I see an outfit, a person or a quote that tickles my fancy I immediately Pin It so that I have a ready made supply of ideas for the future.

Nevertheless, I suppose that if I take a step back my observation could be misconstrued as nosiness. From the way that I stare at a person to commit them to memory, to trying to move closer to people on the train to hear more of an interesting conversation there may be times where I cross the line into being nosy....

I am proudly inquisitive and no accusations of nosiness will knock that trait out of me!

I think the line between being observant and being nosy is sometimes hard to find. I know I use mannerisms and attitudes I observe…but I’d hate to call that nosy. What’s out there is out there, and all writers over observant. 

 I observe people and places all the time. In a cafĂ© I'll see a face and think it stepped out of - say - the Tudor era, or I'll observe a gesture and my sub conscious files it for future use.

As for nosey, I think I am more curious than nosey, always wanting to have the answers to What? Where? When? How and Why?

Thanks for joining us and see you next week!
 If you have a question or comment you’d like us to muse upon, do not hesitate to contact me Christine Steeves-Speakman  at

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