Noticing Life’s Accoutrements

September 20 by

Noticing Life’s Accoutrements

People tell me all the time that I am super observant.

I can’t say that I agree with them.

I can’t remember a new acquaintance’s name two seconds after I walk away.  I couldn’t tell you anything about the details on the food truck where I bought lunch last Thursday, or the name of it.

And I am a writer.  Shouldn’t I remember those kinds of details?  Shouldn’t I be observant enough to have tracked all that with my writer’s mind and held it as fodder for some story down the line?

Perhaps.  To my mind, it’s more that I notice things.  And once I notice something, then I track it.



 I am a writer. Shouldn’t I remember those kinds of details?


For instance, this picture of a small stuffed dog.  I was in my local coffee shop one morning, and a young man with his 3-4 year old daughter were there sitting across from me eating breakfast.  She was a gorgeous little thing with curly red hair.  He was a hipster type guy who actually kicked his shoes off while he sat with her eating breakfast.  Another patron, and older gentleman and a regular like me, passed and just shook his head in disapproval.  The father and daughter made a couple of trips to the restroom, and each time, she left this precious stuffed animal behind on the chair.  It looked lonely to me, almost abandoned, even though I knew they were coming right back.  So, I quickly took a couple of pictures of it lying there, almost upside down, forgotten by the small child in her haste to get to the restroom.  For me, this picture holds a million possible story lines, some realistic, some fantasy.

Would you call that observant?  I mean, sure, I was observing them.  I was making mental notes about their interactions.  But more than anything else, what struck me was that stuffed animal.



 I am a writer. Shouldn’t I remember those kinds of details?


Same kind of story about the journal pictured here.  What caught my attention?  The journal.  What kept my attention?  The journal.  What would be the fodder for me in a story?  The journal.  Not the guy sitting next to me who was writing in it, but the secrets it might hold, the worn edges of it, the way it was almost used up by the person to whom it belonged.  A million stories could be told about that journal and its journey.

Did I observe the journal’s owner?  Sure.  Did I listen in on some of his conversations? Of course.  Do I remember any of that?  Nope.  Nothing.  Not a word.  What I remember is that journal.

There are the occasions when I notice a person and I wonder about their story.  I’ll listen in on their conversations if I’m close enough, and I’ll make a note here or there about their look, the way they talked, the situation from the snippets of conversation.  Yeah.  I’ll do all that.  And at some point I might use parts of that for a character.

For some reason, though, for me anyway, it’s more about noticing the things, the accoutrements of life, and how they are used, or left behind.  From that, my imagination takes over, and I can create a story and the characters to fill it.


What do you observe?  Or notice?



Noticing Life’s Accoutrements: I am a writer. Shouldn’t I remember those kinds of details?

Cathy Lynn

About Cathy Lynn

Cathy Lynn is an artist, writer, executive trainer, and the co-owner of Inkwell Basics. She has published two coloring books, Conscious Coloring and Carnal Coloring. She's currently working on a novel, and turning her farm into an event venue. She previously blogged at 3 Shared Paths, a personal growth blog that was read worldwide, and has been blogging for over 10 years. She lives somewhere between the city and the country with her three cats, Sebastian, Miss Kitty, and Ella.

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