Friday, August 21, 2009

Must Watch Friday :: Back To School

In which Pink Heart Society editor Jenna Bayley-Burke confesses to extreme people watching...

Have you been to a store lately? You don't have to go to the mall to see it, Target will do. Moms are out in force, rabid for the back to school season to be over and the school season to begin in force. They're going crazy trying to find pink erasers and the proper binder dividers, while their kids stare longingly at the jumbo packs of markers and crayons. School supply lists call for the small box, two small boxes actually, while the kiddos would love the pack that comes with more colors than they have teeth.

Because I'm one of those moms -- still on the hunt for the infamously sold out pink erasers, by the way-- I get to see more of this action than I should. Being a writer has me taking it all in, the staccato tempo of one-sided conversations, the way teenagers out with their parents always walk a few step ahead - or a few aisles if they aren't wearing much. I found what the teen girl was wearing directly porportional to how far she walked from her parents. Very interesting...I immediately went home and put capris under the baby's dress.
Clothing stores are a battle ground, or dumping ground for physical expression of emotion. The tight shoulders, rolled eyes, crossed arms with one finger tapping out a familiar rhythm : bring - on - September.

I haven't written all summer. Between the kiddos and the move and any other excuse I can dream up, words haven't been put on the page. What I have been doing is drinking in life, storing up little moments that will be woven into scenes when I do have time for myself again.

That's why the cliche of a writer spending the day in a coffee shop holds true. We need the world around us to stimulate our work and make it real. When we're stumped for how exasperated looks, we can watch those around us and the mom with the whining kid or teen whose triple skinny no foam turned out to have (gasp) whole milk!

Writers can usually claim to be working, whether daydreaming, reading, or people watching. Just to warn you, I'm noticing things wherever pink erasers might be sold. I may even use the way that teenaged boy followed the scantily clad teen girls out of school supplies instead of sticking with his mom and four brothers. Do I need to tell you he turned as red as the binder his mom was putting in the cart when she asked him where he was going?

Jenna is not writing much of anything, and won't be until September. In the meantime, Compromising Positions is available with chocolate, Kama Sutra yoga, a decade old crush and a steady addiction to sugar. To find out what Jenna is up to now...check out her website or blog.

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