Monday, November 24, 2008

Snapshots

So often my days are filled with ideal moments, flashes of perfection. Whether it's that I'm privy to the tenderness between a mother and her child, as she leans forward to comfort with a kiss, or when I hear a secondhand story about a woman running across six lanes of morning traffic - while wearing her bathrobe and slippers, they all strike a chord.

They're instances that touch my writer's sensibility; snapshots taken by my mind's eye to pull out and review, possibly write about, at a later date.

One such moment happened yesterday, while sitting in church for the special Thanksgiving service. One man, a dear family friend and brother in Christ, put his heart and voice into a choir song. As I watched tears stream from his eyes, I filed away the vision he created: Love, humility, reverence. Perhaps I'll use it someday.


Tell me about one of your recent snapshots.

21 comments:

Terri Tiffany said...

I love to watch people--I could do it all day so I am constantly storing away little snapshots in my head and heart. Yesterday, two little girlst, twins, each danced around the church foyer in identical pink furry cape-like coats. It made me remember that I word one almost like it when I was a little girl.

Angie Ledbetter said...

What a cool scene to use later, or some version of it!

The latest "snapshot" I've got filed away actually was fueled by a post on someone's blog about the trials and tribs of taking a teen to the doctor. Made me recall several of those moments with my kids, which I'll combine and tweak for a post soon and/or another parenting article.

Angie Ledbetter said...

Thanks for coming over to the blog. I've added a last paragraph pertaining to writers (something inspiring) if ya get the chance to come back by. :)

Ang said...

Janna, what a beautiful sight that must have been.

I, too, watch people all the time. I find studying their mannerisms when in conversations gives me ideas for character's personalities and such.

Recently I went to a luncheon at one of my boss's house. It was a gorgeous rustic looking log home with 70 acres of land, cows, and not one but 2 ponds. Once we walked into the house, there were porcelain dolls EVERYWHERE and cuckoo clocks. It was weird but amazing all at the same time. Her husband travels and buys her these dolls. She even had a life size porcelain doll in her bedroom along with about 15 others.

You could imagine the thoughts rushing through my head!! I had never seen anything like it in my entire life. Good material for maybe a "horror" novel????

Josh said...

I remember using some old snapshots for the NaNo story I'm trying to finish. Most from my days in the ER. Whenever I see a picture of Shrek I remember a little kid seeing me in my green scrubs and I was towering over her. I smiled at her and she smiled and pointed and said "SHREK!" Naturally I took it as a compliment cause he rocks. :)

Melanie Avila said...

I think I tend to file those scenes more subconsciously. I'm always watching people and making up stories about what they're doing, but I don't purposely place those people in my writing. I'm sure their mannerisms sneak in one way or another.

Jen said...

Interesting post, Janna. :)

My most vivid snapshot actually came to me secondhand. Thirdhand, now that I think about it.

DH told me about a coworker of his who had tried online dating and told him about one of the men she'd met. The way he was dressed just grabbed me, it was so endearing and yet eccentric that I couldn't help but think, "Oh, wow, what a perfect character! Who is this guy?"

WendyCinNYC said...

I always take mental snapshots of elderly couples walking hand in hand. Not sure I'll use it in my writing, but it always makes me smile.

Janna Qualman said...

Terri - I think people-watching is almost a prerequisite to writing. :)

Angie - That would make a great article!

Ang - Very strange mental picture that paints, but the story behind how she acquired all the dolls is really touching.

Josh - That's a fabulous story. You must have some amazing memories from your work.

Melanie - Yeah, I agree. I think it's more the mannerisms or idea of a person, not so much a literal depiction.

Jen - So did you take notes? ;) What a hoot!

Wendy - That's one of my favorite things to see in public. And I love to catch a glimpse of my parents holding hands, too. :)

Barbara said...

Last night my husband and I went to see the movie "Fireproof" and recaptured the old snapspot of what a loving marriage should be. We both were in tears by the time the movie ended. I would encourage EVERYONE to see it. It's wonderful.

Janna Qualman said...

Barbara - Oh, I want to see that so badly! I couldn't talk misterwrites into going to the theater to see it, but we'll rent it as soon as it's on DVD.

Melissa Marsh said...

I was sitting at a stoplight in morning rush hour. This man was in the turn lane, waiting at the red light. He got out of his car, went to go pick something up off the median (truly, it looked like a stick or piece of wood), then got back into his car. I actually started to write a short story based on this because the whole thing just fascinated me.

thedomesticfringe said...

I once worked on Saturdays as a "demo" girl in Wal-Mart. It was a terrible job, but the people watching made it all woth-while. :)

I'll look forward to reading more of your snapshot in the future.

Michele said...

The most beautiful snapshot I can recall, I did store away in my mind to write about later...

Moses or Man? (Story #2)

By the way, this was a beautiful, refreshing post Janna. You always amaze me with your talent! I'd have to read your book(s) over and over again! :-)

*smiles*
Michele

Joanne said...

I love to people watch, they never cease to amaze me. But what amazes me today is that I am drawing a blank on your snapsot request! I stopped here earlier, went away and figured I'd think about a tender/poignant moment I'd witnessed, came back here still clueless!! idk Janna, maybe I need to get out more! ;)

Janna Qualman said...

Melissa - Me thinks you could well have been writing about one of my brothers-in-law, truly. :D He's got eagle eyes when it comes to road sides, and he's forever picking up cool, abandoned stuff!

Fringegirl - Oh, I bet that was a stinky job. Like you, though, I'd have enjoyed the people. Do you think that makes us judgmental? I've always wondered where the line is.

Michele - Well, my goodness! That's the nicest thing I've heard all day, and I thank you for saying such a sweet thing. :) I'll go check out your piece - thanks for the link!

Joanne - I have that same trouble; coming up with something when, in essence, put on the spot. If you of a snapshot in a few days, by all means, come back and tell us!

kimmirich said...

((Janna)), this is a lovely post. And my latest snapshot came from a handshake, and turned into a poem, go figure, but, but, but, Author Scoop published it!!

Janna Qualman said...

Kimmi, that's great! Give us the link?

colbymarshall said...

People watching is always fun, the tender moments when they think no one is looking.

Linda said...

What a great post. My most recent snapshot was an elderly woman in the parking lot at the grocery story. I was struck with the length time she took and the thought she put into every movement as she put her groceries in the car and prepared to leave. In fact, I think I'll write about it on my blog! Thanks for inspiring me!

Janna Qualman said...

Colby - Yeah, those tender moments tend to be the best, don't they?

Linda - Well, thanks! And I'll keep my eyes open for your post.