One of the things I’ve learned this year is that as a writer you can find inspiration just about anywhere. Family, friends, the neighbors next door….I finally found a very interesting source of inspiration the other day and you wouldn’t be able to guess where. The laundromat.
Earlier this week I was all set to take care of a very important chore, (making sure the kids had clean clothes for school), when I went to the laundromat. Usually I take the kids but this was going to be a simple two load, in and out deal. I had my clothes, detergent and for the sake of using my time wisely, my trusty earphones, notebook and pen. Time to get some ideas on paper. As public places go, we all have a local ‘fixture’ that haunts the location. Sometimes they can be a nuisance, entertaining or in this case, inspiration.
My inspiration came in the form of a wise old man who loves to talk to everyone who comes in. He always has a story to tell, even though it’s practically the same story, over and over and over again, but I’ve found that I pick up something new every time. But I have to tell you, once he comes and says hello and you respond, that’s it. He has your ear until through the wash cycle, drying cycle and the entire time you fold your clothes. But for some reason on this day, a day when I had a scene playing in my head all day and was anxious to get it down on paper, I figured a quick wave and the fact that I had on earphones and a notebook and pen in hand those would be signs that read, ‘Hello, good to see you again but I’ve got no time to talk, I’m busy!’
Nope, it was the opposite, it was his way into a conversation.
One of the first things he asked me was, “Hey, what are you writing about?” My first response was that I had thoughts I need to get down on paper. He automatically assumed I was writing a letter to someone to get some negative feelings off my chest. As he decided to counsel me on this, I interrupted him and said it wasn’t that kind of writing. I told him that I was writing a story and that it was about romance. He was quiet for a few moments before he started talking again. He informed me that I must love what I was writing because of the way I was writing. When I asked him what he meant he said, “Because your taking the time to print and not write cursive. When you write in coursive you’re too busy trying to be fancy, like doctors when they write your percriptions and you can’t understand what they’re saying. When you take the time to print your thinking about each and every letter which means you care about what your trying to say.” Wow…..I’d never heard that before but it makes sense.
He continued on about love and finding love and had me laughing. But then he said he had something he wanted to give me. He asked for a pen and paper and proceded to write a poem for me. I will share it with you now:
I don’t have much time
But at least I’ll tell you what’s on my mind.
I see you are puzzled for some reason or another
That problem of yours doesn’t belong to me
But if I may set your mind at EASE
Learn to Practice what you speak
For you see a man will truely love your heart
If things be the truth, not a lie
You were born to be loved
Not toyed with at all
So put all your love and faith
But let it come from the Heart
Don’t play, just tell it as it is
Be true to you and also Him
You’ll find love before it finds you.
True to thy self is all you can do
Love self most of all
He’s not going further
For he will come to your Heart.
Interesting from an old man who haunts the laundromat. I thanked him for his words after I read them. It wasn’t until the next day when I read over the paper again that I picked out certain parts of the poem that stood out to me as being relevant information that the heroin in my story, who is indeed looking for love, would need to hear…..from some one old and wise…..someone like her grandfather. So, from a not so simple, and in the beginning annoying, trip to the laundromat I have found a wonderful idea for a new character right along with his wise words to add to my story.