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  • dianehester4

The Importance of Being Observant for Writers - a humorous tale about the writing life

It was a beautiful morning. The sun was shining and the white cedar trees lining our driveway were in full bloom scenting the air with their sweet perfume.

‘Ah, smell that,’ I said to my husband as we returned from our daily walk. ‘What a fragrance; isn’t it lovely.’

In typical fashion, Michael grunted. ‘I don’t smell anything.’

I stifled a sigh.

One thing I’ve noticed since becoming a writer is that it changes the way you experience life. The majority of people walk through their days with blinders on, never appreciating what’s around them. But we writers are different, a separate breed. Constantly taking in the little things. Those resonant details that others miss, storing them for use in our stories.

Poor Michael, I thought as we stood together on that lovely morning. Look at all he's missing. If only he’d train himself as I have. To be more observant, more aware. Maybe I could help him understand.

‘Wait here,’ I said, and walked over to the nearest tree.

I reached up, snagged a branch, and broke off a cluster of its flowers. Clutching the posy, I marched back and thrust it beneath his nose. ‘There. Can you smell it now?’

He gave me a sort of bemused look, a puzzled smile playing on his lips. Finally, with a shrug, he answered. ‘I guess.’

At last, a flicker of comprehension. I'd gotten through! With that single practical demonstration I'd opened the door to a much larger world for one sensory-impoverished soul.

I stood triumphant for all of two seconds. Until I noticed my knee felt wet, a warmth rapidly spreading down my leg and into my shoe.

It seemed this vigilant, eagle-eyed writer had failed to notice her husband had paused, not to anticipate her return, but to relieve himself against the nearest tree.

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