on Writing Forward:
When we open ourselves up to our surroundings and take in the details, we will find inspiration in the most unlikely of places.
Imagine that you’re sitting in an airport, waiting to pick up a friend whose flight is delayed. It’s been a long day, and you’re tired, so you decide to rest in the lounge area and watch a movie. You put on your headphones and set your tablet on your lap. Soon, you’re engrossed in the film, so you never see what’s happening around you.
You don’t notice two men wearing suits, who are standing outside of a café, having a heated argument. Passersby are staring. An officer is guarding an exit-only door. A woman flashes a badge at him and then disappears through the door. Behind you, a young couple stands up and walks toward the terminal, leaving a nondescript carry-on behind. An elderly lady calls after them and points to the carry-on, but they shake their heads and continue on their way. The elderly woman frowns and mutters, “I saw them set it down. I know it’s theirs.” At the airport gift shop, a delivery man drops a package on his foot, and two children perusing souvenirs point and laugh, but not at him. They’re looking at something else.
There’s a story, an essay, or a poem in there somewhere. But you missed it because you were plugged in. You weren’t paying attention to your surroundings. You weren’t being observant.