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What I Learned about Writing this Week…from Observation

Courtney Cantrell's weekly writing advice.

Courtney Cantrell's weekly writing advice.

Her mouth opens wide in a huge smile that draws every eye in the room.

His nervous habit: narrating for everyone in the room what’s happening on the TV screen.

When she feels melancholy, she hums “Amazing Grace” and Metallica’s “Nothing Else Matters.”

When she feels happy, she hums ’80s rock ballads.

His right eyelid droops lower than the left, but you don’t notice it unless you love him.

She goes to Walmart wearing perfect makeup–but with curlers in her hair, and she lifts her chin and grins when people laugh.

The less he knows you, the more he talks; you know he’s at his ease with you when he doesn’t say a word.

He curses audibly into his cell phone in the grocery store parking lot.

His pinstripe suit is pressed and lint-free–but when he bends over, his pantlegs ride up to reveal mismatched socks.

She holds his hand from the car to the ice cream parlor, but her fingers drop his the moment his other hand reaches for the door.

The left corner of her mouth curls upward when she reads her newest text message.

She cartwheels through the living room when the adult conversation turns serious.

He holds eye contact with you as you’re talking, but he blinks and smiles and looks away the instant before the stare becomes uncomfortable.

He must always be the loudest person in the room.

They do their laundry in the middle of the night at apartment complexes where they do not live.

A piece of hair above his left ear is longer than the rest, and he plays with it when he’s uncertain.

She tucks her hair behind her ears when she’s tired.

Before each of the early steps of his healing process, he retreats into a shell in which there is no light.

While driving, she brakes randomly because precipitation and dusk frighten her.

She uses hand sanitizer precisely seventeen minutes into the sermon.

He nods in all the wrong places.

The nail polish on her right hand is always chipped. (The left hand is flawless.)

She asks the husband if he has seen the latest theater release, but she ignores the wife completely.

In conversation, she uses her hands more than she uses her mouth.

He offers you a cup of coffee before he asks how you are.

Watch them when they do not know you’re watching.

And that’s WILAWriTWe.

Photo credit Courtney Cantrell.

2 Responses to “What I Learned about Writing this Week…from Observation”

  1. Jay says:

    Humans are fascinating, but people are endless pools of entertainment, knowledge, and oddities. You can learn so much by just paying attention. I enjoyed reading your observations.

  2. Courtney Cantrell says:

    Thanks, I very much enjoyed writing them down and sharing them. 🙂