170221 Observe Others: Creative Exercise

…you could also imagine who these people might be and create characters for them, which seems like a great exercise for people who want to be better writers. Because lets be honest, some of the things people say would be hard to imagine. Having real life examples seems like a great starting point.

Interior Alaska in the winter time is not the easiest place to try to carry out the exercise challenge on page 50 of Tharp’s book The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It for Life.  She wants you to go out some place in public and write down twenty actions that occur between two people.  Then she says to try the exercise again but this time only write down the things you find interesting.  She says by applying judgement to a situation we become more selective.  Also that looking at what you wrote down and left out in both trials can teach you more about how you see the world.  She says if repeated patterns will emerge, and not the world, but your self will be revealed.

So on Tuesday evening I went to the busiest place I could thing of that might have some action, where I could also have my computer and not seem nosey.  I had to adapt the exercise some because I couldn’t necessarily see all the people around me, but I could hear a number of different groups of people interacting over a span of time.  What you read below is not necessarily sequential, but as many fragments as I could catch of their conversations.  I think it is also including part two in a way because I could only focus on one thing at a time, so I must have naturally had to select the most interesting thing at the moment to attend to.  Tharp says after doing this exercise you could also imagine who these people might be and create characters for them, which seems like a great exercise for people who want to be better writers.  Because lets be honest, some of the things people say would be hard to imagine.  Having real life examples seems like a great starting point.

Ok here’s what I picked up over a few hours:

(Meeting of young mothers)

“I’m not going to tell her we met, she would just feel bad.”

“I feel a weight is lifted.”

“I put in faith prayer and it was the second thing that came up.”

child “No I want to…” Mom: “ok, ten, five?” (Child goes to hide under the chair)

“Mom I’m ready”

“Where’s Andy?  No, no, no…(mom looking under chairs) Yes!”

Other younger child goes under the chair and says “count to three, four” mom starts looking, “no, no, yes!”

Is she on big skis now?

Last time I’m asking you.  We can do it the hard way.  Come’on children lets go out the door.


(Group of young college guys: later saw they were playing video games)

Oh my GoD! I have whiplash.

You guys have to stand so Sean isn’t taller than you.  Later guys

We did it!  Whoooo, oh man, so close, why do you do this to me?

It was me, you were attacking me.  Whoa, god dammit, whooa laughter, lets go.  Dammit.  laughter, lets go.. Top ten animated…….   kill him, kill him.

I’m still alive.  I killed you, it was siiiiick.

He thought it was person who.. Who down in whoville.  Oyea, oyea, WOW.  whatwow, ya dare me to?  laughing…  64 character… dr. Mario.  Love him.  So you’re wrong.. why are you playing that?  Get, go away.   (Laughing) I got saved by a cloud.  I’m trying, I’m trying too hard.  ok wait.  it has to happen, once it hits two of them.  …dark mess.  Player four.

you’re dead.  ok I gotta go.  Vanish, vanished.  See you guys later.  Ok.  That damn mask.  Of course they attacked him.  not why.  Fuck. on you, rage, f in rage.

I can’t get a character I don’t know and can’t use for a third time, can I, really?  Hey, be thankful you aren’t sonic.  Yeah go ahead try.  WWE   Rock hawk.  Rock hawk rocks the stage.  I don’t like anyone who’s fast.  You don’t like Sonic even though you’re the one who trained Eric.  Ok. Alright, this is your biggest comeback in the entire world.  We’ve seen a …. reverse, but will we see another one today?  Just do what I do when I have problems…. how embarassing.  (Laughing)  Yeah you just realized.  Jesus Christ.  Right?  Wrong?  oh, no.  I hope I got jilted.  Up the mega coupa.  God I’m hit.  I don’t want to have to make this comeback again.  It’s rated G what did you expect?

He just killed his own son, is he proud?
Yea you did something.  Fricken smash santa claus.  Sh==  fricken lone wolf.  Everybody



(Guy and girl watching a movie and eating, both eating.)

G: Want me to go get our stuff?  B: Ok (guy continues watching alone)  G: I asked for whip cream B: Ok  G: Here you go. later.  Girl giggles loud, guy’s on phone.    “I’m supposed to be the red ranger” (fighting movie) shields. Girl: “He does say red and later he says he supposed to be blue.  I wonder if when they filmed this they just wore suits and said…”


(Group of older women)

“That’s from that book”  My phone will just up and call someone, does your phone do this? Or it will be about to call someone.

I try I try every day.  Hey, you’re there.  Alright we’ll see.

(some leave and one woman calls her child)

“Hi is  this a good time?  ok, good. Those bloody noses. No its just…  This person…. what I’m saying is basically what I’m saying is dad has real strong feelings about so he tells you those suggestions, we can’t help ourselves.  Whatever you feel is gonna work, you have different goals and know what is gonna work.  He’s willing to step back.  You’re always going to be getting a little advice, you just gotta do your own thing, what you know is right.  Caroline had a different dream and she wanted to be in Montana so she did it.  You’re gonnna find your path, and you’ll show us what it is and say see this is working.  You gotta take the things that go along with that life. If that’s the way you’ve found to provide for your self. I think the biggest down side is, when you have a job you get up at 7 and go.  When you are working for yourself you have to have the discipline to sit down and do it.  And a job makes you go, you know?

I’m by myself, I’m by myself.  But. (pause)

It’s just hard for him, it’s the difference between who you are.  It’s hard for him to see things different than him.

right,  right,

Don’t worry about it, take your time and make the right decision.  I’m not worried about it.  In my prayers just pray about it. hope you come out sometime.

(Conversation with child ends and I realize there’s still another woman there with her.  The one who was on the phone says to the other lady:)

Sorry, right at the point where he’s job hunting again.  hope he takes his time and finds something good.  they’re not hard steps.  No. (she leaves with one other older lady)