Friday, February 6, 2009

Old Conductors Never Die: Writing in Motion

Old conductors never die, so the saying goes; they just take the midnight train to Georgia. I'd like to take credit for that observation, but somebody else made it, someone on the evening commuter train from New York's Grand Central Station to the Connecticut suburbs. Not only did the comment give us all within earshot a good laugh—somebody picked up the thread of the comment and started singing "Midnight Train to Georgia"—it also gave me an idea, not just for this blog, but for an article or a short piece on conductors, maybe a sitcom about commuters. It also reminded me of the importance of listening to and reporting—my journalism roots are showing again—what's around me. Overheard conversations make wonderful titles, whether short fiction, articles or novels, and they are instructive in how people converse. This exchange was made by older people; you can tell partly because of how one topic split off to another, a fairly common tendency among older folk. Yet, if I hadn't had my writers' hat on (I was working on the novel), I might not have taken notice. Okay, I did need a blog entry, but taking note of the ordinary can make for something extraordinary. "Writers write about things that other people don’t pay much attention to." Natalie Goldberg, Writing Down the Bones

To put this musing into motion, check out the writing tip at the top of the list, and let us know how it goes.

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