Posted by: jeannineatkins | July 1, 2007

Eavesdropping, or, Keeping Your Ears Open

Steps of the Writing Process

Eavesdropping, or, Keeping Your Ears Open:

I stopped in at Cup and Top, which not only has good coffee but serves p and j and juice in tiny teacups for tea party inclined preschoolers. I was looking for some a.c. with my caffeine and doing some editing, but got derailed by the four-year-old daughter of an acquaintance wearing pink shoes with sparkly fluff, a new possession snagged at Salvation Army, her dad told me. I’d felt kind of spiffy in some new green flats, but whoa! This girl told me, “I’m glad I like my shoes more than your shoes and I’m glad you like my shoes more than your shoes.” Who can blame her? We chatted about picking berries and getting scared when she looked up and couldn’t see her mom and some other things, but I think the glee of her wardrobe will find her way into a character I’m working on.

Okay, maybe the heading should be: Is your muse right beside you?
Can you recognize her in her pink and fuzzy shoes?

And later the same day I stopped in the hospital to visit someone, and on the way out, saw a young woman back slumped against a wall, cell phone cradled in her ear, saying, “So, guess what? My sister is going to have a baby.” And she did not smile. I don’t know where that one is going… none of my characters are expecting, I’m not sure any are that oddly forlorn. Doesn’t matter. Somewhere in brain archives it’s filed away.



  1. Yes, everything around you could be just what you’re looking for. Nice to keep that in mind.
    Welcome to LJ!!! I added you as a friend!

  2. Oh, Cindy, thank you for the comment and welcome! Yes, I’ve meant for so long to start a blog here, but afraid of the time commitment, making a fool of myself, etc. I’ll stop! But now past the fear-of-beginning I’m quite sure all I get will far repay a time investment. It is exciting!

  3. Cindy, you probably got it, but that was me, not meaning to be anonymous! Just getting the hang….

  4. Cindy, thank you, and for adding me as a friend! I just added you. It only took, uh, ten minutes. I will get the hang of it soon! But how nice to see, “you have a friend.” You’re the fourth and one is not human, so it’s especially exciting! Speaking of everything as material, that “you only have three friends” sure sends me back to being a teen. I want to tell LJ really some people like me…

  5. : ) I figured it out! You’ll figure it all out too!

  6. Ha! I remember that feeling when I started my lj. I used to read Jo’s friends just to have something to read. That was a really good way to find other people’s blogs I wanted to read though. She has good taste!

  7. That’s What Friends Are For…
    What great, grand news! And WHAT timing you have. What timing the wonderful has as well. I am grateful she let us know You Have Arrived, Jeannine. I Swear: Sitting ON my desk, to the top right of my keyboard is your WINGS AND ROCKETS postcard that I somehow picked up at the recent New England SCBWI conference. (I think I saw the postcards in your hand and I asked you for one.) I have left the postcard on my desk as a Bang on My Head REMINDER to get in touch with you, post-conference.
    Well, Bang the Drum Slowly No More because… You’re Here and now I can read you whenever you write. Hurrah for me. Hurrah for us.
    Welcome to Live Journal. Oh no no no.. You will not be sorry you opened the door.
    (who tucks away all bits of overheard conversation in a Filing Cabinet Brain that expands and contracts as needed){}

  8. Hi Jeannine! I love your muse in the pink shoes. I just finished Jane Yolen’s book on writing TAKE JOY, where she talks about the Birkenstock muse. I think your new muse is right up there with Jane’s.
    I laughed at your comment about the friends list making you feel like a teenager again. I just started blogging a few months ago and had similar feelings of junior high angst. Welcome to LJ!

  9. Re: That’s What Friends Are For…
    Pamela, thanks for the great welcome! I always feel nervous entering a room, so it’s nice to get your virtual hug and remember chatting in the lobby! I hope you got to see Sarah L in Nashua, too — I saw her long enough to tell her you were looking for her, but then didn’t see either of you again. I hope your summer is going well!

  10. I appreciate your warm and calming welcome! I guess that nervous state is common to all new things and just must be gotten through, but the welcomes sure help!
    Now I want to go back to Cup and Top and see if I can spot that muse again. I’d love to take a picture of those shoes — and learn how to post pictures here!

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