Monday, September 8, 2014

I'm Not Kidding, Cookie Monster Robbed a Store!

To brighten your Monday morning I thought I'd share a little story from my blog-- with a few added improvements.  Enjoy! 

This morning I was half-listening to the morning news while doing my usual routine, reading blogs and emails.  When I glanced up at the TV, I said, "Cookie Monster robbed a store?  That's an interesting way to disguise yourself."
Cookie monster in an interrogation room.
Cookie Monster in an interrogation room.
My husband, Bob, looked at me as if I had three heads.  Apparently it wasn't the cookie monster.  The perpetrator was wearing a blue hooded sweatshirt.  In my defense, the photo captured on the store's surveillance was unclear.  The lines were blurry.  Fuzzy, like fur.  At first sight, the stick-up man looked just like the cookie monster.  Well, to me he did.
What was actually on the TV.
What was actually on the screen.

My reaction, and quick recovery so my husband wouldn't think I had totally lost my mind, was,  "Oh, sorry. I must have been looking at him through my writer's eye."  That seemed to satisfy him.  Phew, close call.  I could have faced a seventy-two hour psych hold in a padded cell for "exhaustion"-- the celebrity excuse.
I'm only kidding.  But it got me thinking about how Bob hadn't seen the same thing I had.  I swear I saw a googly white eye, too!
Writers look at the world differently than anyone else.  Some are born that way and for some it's a learned behavior.  The end result is the same.  When we, as writers, look at a person-- whether we are meeting them for the first time or they are someone we know well-- we notice the way they move, how they speak, their mannerisms, even their stance.  I'm an eye and teeth person.  Upon introduction those are usually the first attributes I focus on.   While speaking with someone I zero in on tiny details in their eyes.  For instance, I see golden flakes swirling in pools of sea-green lagoon water, inky black bands around a crystal-gray iris, like an enraged wolf, or diamond-sharp specks of turquoise in a galaxy of electric blue.  You get the picture.
When you vocalize your discoveries to non-writers they tend to exchange a muddled glance.


Until you try to recover with, "I'm a writer."  Then you get, "Oh, okay!"  Like suddenly everything became clear.  "You're creative!" 

I take it as a compliment, even though I'm guessing most times it's not.  Needless to say, I've learned to keep my mouth shut.  But sometimes it just slips out.  Thankfully this mainly happens at home.  And Bob's used to it by now.  He just gives me a smile that says, "I'm so proud of you."  Yes, he really is that sweet.  Of course this is what I secretly want from him...

That reminds me.  A while back, I can't remember exactly when it started, Bob invented this cool little game to keep my literary juices flowing.  If you haven't already guessed, he's my loudest cheerleader.  While watching a movie, a TV show, strolling through the garden, taking a walk, or even while driving, he picks something and says,  "How would you describe it?"

Sometimes I don't feel like playing.  I've either just opened my eyes, or I've already been writing for six or eight hours and I'm spent, my brain shut down for the night.  Usually the latter.  Still, I try to humor him by describing the image or scene in great detail.  What I've found is, it has really helped me with my writing.  Who knew?  By Bob wanting to hear how I would go about rewriting someone's scene or describing an inanimate object, unknowingly he has forced me to look at the world like I'm writing passages in a book.  Constantly.  I have to say, most times what I recite is terrible, for reasons mentioned above--  his timing sucks!  Now, however, I find myself playing this game alone in the car because it's great practice to keep sharp.
Just recently, I find I'm ready for him.  After so many years together-- we celebrated seventeen years over July 4th weekend-- I know what he's going to say before he does.  Therefore, I mentally rehearse what my answer will be.  I haven't let him in on my little secret yet, and probably never will.
 Shh, don't tell him.
He believes the response is just off the top of my head.  I must say, his responses lately are better than what they were:  "Uh-huh, okay, I can see that."  Pause.  "I suppose," muttered under his breath.

What do you do to stay sharp?  Have you ever had "the writer" slip out in public?

Sue Coletta is a crime fiction writer. 
She lives in Alexandria, New Hampshire, with her husband and two overgrown, spoiled Rottweilers, who don't hesitate to bump her off the sofa for a better seat.
You can find her at or by email at:


Helen Hanson said...

I know I've seen Waldo at the park. That dude gets around.

Sue Coletta said...

Ha ha ha!

Eliza Cross said...

I laughed through this whole piece, Sue, and the last line is destined to become a classic! :-) I have a habit (annoying to some) of trying to guess people's backstory, and I'm usually way off. Now I can blame it on "the writer." Great post!

Sue Coletta said...

Works for me. Anything overly observant can be blamed on "the writer". I'm glad I made you laugh. It was all worth it then.

Dr. Suzana E. Flores said...

Love it! I especially liked the Marla Singer reference :)

Sue Coletta said...

She was too perfect not to include. :)