I notice things other people don't see, and the wheels in my mind start turning, dreaming, putting together pieces. Next thing I know I'm off in my own world imagining all the possibilities, lost in the story I'm already telling in my head. Oblivious to everything else around me.
Like yesterday. I was with a group of friends who were deep in some sort of conversation I was supposed to be listening to and participating in. But I wasn't. Because a few minutes earlier I'd spotted a lost shoe on the side of the road.
It was a black, men's dress shoe (I'm still lamenting the fact that I'd left my camera at home and couldn't take a picture) and I couldn't help wondering how it ended up there. What crazy string of circumstances led to its unfortunate, cast-off fate--abandoned in a dirty gutter, like roadkill.
I'd concocted at least 5 different scenarios--and a possible picture book concept--when I realized something had changed. The buzzing, humming sounds around me had quieted. The conversation my friends had been having had stopped, and they were all looking at me, waiting for me to answer some question I hadn't heard.
I thought about telling them I was distracted by characters and worlds and stories that ended in a lone, lost shoe--but I was afraid they wouldn't understand. So I played the tired card, asked them to repeat the question and *tried* to be a better friend and pay attention to what they were saying. But my mind kept wandering back to that lost shoe.
That's the thing about being a writer. You see stories everywhere--and you never know when inspiration will strike. I'll probably never write any of the stories that raced through my head yesterday--but I had to keep thinking about them until I saw them through. Because every so often, one of those stories or pieces of ideas becomes a book. It's an amazing, magical process. But non-writers just don't fully understand it.
Some find it funny, like my husband--who has learned to laugh when he catches me smiling at a joke only I heard, or shaking my head at a character who's been telling me what to do (sadly I'm not making those things up. I swear I'm not crazy) Others just ignore me. And some think I'm distant, easily distracted. Possibly rude.
I'm probably all of the above. But mostly...I'm a writer. That's what writers do. We see. We wonder. We dream. And then, we write.
What about you guys? Do your minds wander as easily as mine? Any tips for how to prevent getting *quite* so distracted around non-writer friends?