Tuesday, November 22, 2011

When Characters Introduce Themselves

My husband often gets a kick out of the people (strangers) who strike up a conversation with me. Last year a lady came up and said, "Want to know what your problem is?" Of course I said yes.

I must have one of those faces, because strangers often feel comfortable talking with me.
On Saturday I was in Hobby Lobby buying floral stems to put into my vintage basket. Since having the inside of the house painted I needed to re-do the arrangement in the basket. (See the photo to the right.)

But I digress. Anyway I was holding some pussy willow branches, and a lady came over and chatted with me. After our brief conversation, I'm convinced she's one of my future characters. Such a charmer!

"Excuse me," she said. "I noticed you had artificial pussy willow branches in your hand, and I wonder if you realize that you can get the real thing in the Naturals aisle."

I thanked her for sharing that info, and I explained that this was going to be in a long-term arrangement, so artificial was probably best.

She nodded her agreement, glanced at the pussy willows, and smiled. "You know I've always loved pussy willows, they remind me of Germany and an incident in my childhood."

"Really?" I stepped closer, avoiding being run over by a loaded shopping cart barreling down on us. "What?"

"We lived in Germany when I was four. One day my sister and I were playing by pussy willows. I don't know why, but I decided to stuff one up my nose. I started to get upset because I couldn't get it out, then my sister told me to push it up farther. So I did."

Now, isn't this an interesting conversation? How often do strangers come up to you and discuss wedging plant life up their nose?

"Anyway," she said, "a nice, young marine--we lived on a military base--asked why I was crying. My sister explained. He squatted in front of me and told me to hold my other nostril closed and blow hard. Of course that pussy willow shot right out of my nose!"

We both laughed and she went on her way. I knew when I got home I'd write that snippet of conversation down because somehow at sometime I've got to write a character into a novel with a similar story.

It's just plain fun when a character appears out of nowhere begging to be immortalized. Don't you think? Writers, when has this happened to you?


Keli Gwyn said...

What a story. =) I can see why you want to work it in one of yours. We never know where we'll get story ideas, do we?

Megan DiMaria said...

No, we never know. It's important to keep your eyes open, don't you think, Keil? Thanks for stopping by.

Anonymous said...

Wonderful story! I have an elderly neighbor who is full of homespun funny comments, and I write hers down, too. It started when she said she loved me more than a lop-eared rabbit. Well, you have to wonder how to take that, don't you? Thanks, Megan. And happy Thanksgiving.

Mary Kay

Megan DiMaria said...

Oooh, that's a great one, Mary Kay! Happy Thanksgiving!