Learning to Think Like a Writer


One of the greatest compliments any writer can get is to know that somehow, somewhere her writing has touched the heart and soul and mind of someone, somewhere. And to my impassioned delight I have had just that experience. The other day I received an email that not only brightened my day but made me sit up, and say, "people are reading my blog!" Yikes. Well, with the author's permission I am posting this email in its entirety. And if you are feeling a little tearful and touched that's okay. Go ahead grab a hanky. We'll wait. You might need it. Oh, if you're not sure what she's referring to exactly, you might want to scroll down a couple of posts and read. So without further complication I bring you. Susan Salley of Abingdon Press. And btw, the Barbara in the email is my wonderful and good natured editor, Barbara Scott.


Dear Joyce and Barbara,

I don't know how to send messages to you both on Facebook so I'm going old school.

After Joyce's excellent blog on "you know you're a writer if...", I went into court today with a new view. Instead of going in with trepidation and impatience, I'd look for characters and stories. First of all....it was DUI day. I was there because a very drunk young man landed his truck in my yard on Mother's Day morning, wet his pants and promptly fell asleep. Needless to say, I was a witness - a witness to more than I wanted to see.

I was appointed den mother for my row. I met a woman who'd just gotten out of the hospital with food poisoning who had driven over after being discharged to pick up her husband from jail after 11 days. I watched her bag while she made some phone calls and suggested she drink more water.

The woman on my other side seemed normal if a little fragile. We started talking. She had a big cast on her arm and told me an amazing story about breaking her hand but being misdiagnosed. She was a nanny so the cast and mobility was a problem. I gave her book to read that I had in my bag because she seemed so nervous.

Here's the good part. When her case was called, she asked me if I'd watch her bag and of course I did. On the stand it came up that she'd been pulled over for driving very slowly and without her lights late at night. She'd told the policeman that she was a surgeon and was exhausted from performing trauma surgery at Opryland Hotel. The poor young policeman said she kept changing the subject and asking complicated questions instead of doing the field sobriety tests.

As she left, she asked for my card. She has a novel she wants you to see, Barbara.

I love publishing!

Susan Salley
Executive Director, Fast Track Publishing/Program Resources
The United Methodist Publishing House

So you see how life takes on a whole new dimension when you make just a simple paradigm shift. The hum drum becomes hum FUN! Court becomes a place of a million stories, an airport concourse is your oyster. Go on make the shift like Susan did and look at your surroundings as a source of inspiration and laughter not monotony and annoyance.
Thank you Susan for sharing your court room drama with us. I'm sure it will end up in a novel one day. Perhaps the one I'm writing now.

2 comments:

Barbara Scott said...

Thanks for sharing, Susan! I'm sure one of your "characters" will show up in a Joyce novel...maybe even you. :)

Judy Christie said...

Great reminder here, Susan!