The Creativity in Observation
The World Around You is a Powerful Writing Tool
I was sitting in my library writing, minding my own business when I heard loud chaos coming from outside. I got up and walked into the living room to look out the window.
My neighbors across the street were having a yard sale. There were cars blocking the street, happy people standing in front of my house and a piercing car alarm going off while the owners of the car ignored the horrid sound and remained focused on the used treasures spread about in my neighbor’s driveway.
My first thought was, why didn’t I think of that? Our house is filled with useless clutter. I could be selling everyone’s stuff when they’re not home and they’d never notice it were gone.
Maybe it’s because I come from a far away land were yard sales really aren’t a thing, or at least far and few between. Even as it started to rain people kept coming and going in the middle of the day like flies being baited to a trap.
My second thought was, how am I suppose to get any work done with all this ruckus? Especially when the sound of happiness is the same exact sound as nails down a chalkboard.
And I think that may be a heredity of genetic feeling I’m experiencing because my son feels similar to how I do. I know this because when we drive past cemeteries he often says, “My favorite kind of people. Dead.”
I get it, I know what you’re thinking. I’m his mother. I should correct him, redirect him, convince him that his idea is false, or acknowledge that he’s a 17 year old boy and like many other 17 year old boys he can be morbid at times, What’s it called? Ah, yes, emo.
First, he’s joking, at least half joking. Second, we only have ourselves to blame for his thought process. We, the people, are on a path of self destruction but yet we accept it and place the responsibility on our future. The same future that as a society we label and claim their entitled, and lazy, and lacking passion, and we put absurd amounts of pressure on them to solve the worlds problems while we striping them of their self worth. So, there’s that. Last, I kind of relate to how he feels, so who am I to judge?
The next morning my husband sent me a text message informing that “There’s a city wide yard sale all weekend.” I knew where he was going with this but we have far too much stuff already. I responded with “Williamsburg isn’t a city.”
In actuality, however, Williamsburg does identify as a city. The sign above the door at town hall reads, “The City of Williamsburg.” Our water bill delivered to us via snail mail reads, “The City of Williamsburg.”
I don’t agree it’s a city.
It’s a town completely surrounded by corn. A small town. Granted the population is roughly 3000 people but those 3000 people break down into 843 families and that includes the surrounding farms. The town itself is three square miles wide. It appears to me that the average family has four to eight children.
Now, I don’t know why people have so many children. What I’m about to say isn’t intended to do harm, it’s simply my perspective.
Is it because everyone in town is religious and doesn’t believe in birth control? Tossing back a few beers anytime of day seems to be the norm. Are people getting it on more because the beer buzz is increasing endorphins? Could it be that life is much more easy going here and that the good people of Williamsburg are hard workers with values that are focused on family more so than living in a nation of instant gratification where success is measured by materialistic things?
What I find to be most intriguing about the “city wide yard sale,” is people are selling their things but they’re also going to other people’s houses and buying their things, so in reality they may be making a buck or two but they’re also spending it. At best they’re breaking even. Why not just trade and save all the work in the middle and stop standing out in the rain? I may be overthinking it.
Whatever the case, Williamsburg is not in any way, a city.
All of these thoughts, realizations and ideas stemmed from my neighbors piling up their junk outside and selling it off to the town. Observing all that’s going on around me gave me a story to write and possibly the opening to a novel that may conclude with really bizarre things. So take the time, look around you, because in most cases that smallest detail or what you thought had no significance just might send you off on a tangent of creativity.
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