Almost anything we write has to do with people. Even when we write about the plight of pets and animals, it deals quite a lot with people. If you write about different careers, you are writing about a specific kind of people who does a certain job. When writing about feelings, who has those but people? Travel pieces feature the culture of other people along with sights and foods that traveling people would love to try. It may be impossible to write anything without at least touching on people. They may be from another time, place or even future people, but their being is of interest to any writer or poet. So that is at the heart of the rude manners we exhibit as we try every minute to learn more about them.
Writers don’t mean to be rude, but we do stare more directly at and ask impertinent questions of people. They can be complete strangers and we devolve into conversations showing our signs of insensitivity, unquenchable curiosity and boldness.
While staring, we are taking note of the way they walk, sit or stand. We take in the way they dress or how they look in general. We are listening in conversation for strange turns of the tongue. We are listening for, God help us, lisps, stuttering or other speech impediments that set them apart from other speakers.
We spot a person that looks different, evil, mischievous or beautiful and immediately we want to follow them and see what it is they do next. We want to know where they will go and whether or not they are walking, driving or taking a bus. Our mind starts working overtime because we are watching, while creating a scenario in our minds. We have already assigned that person a role, maybe produced a set of circumstances for them, even a family, career and goals. Writers are by their very nature intrusive due to an endless questioning about everything.
Writers are gleaning fodder for their imagination animals and grist for their mills. There will be no halting this activity, just because it is not polite or acceptable so we may as well store those things away for the perfect writing project.
So what I am really curious about is does every writer do this? Or should I just be ashamed to say it’s just me.