Monday, 19 March 2012

Confessions of an inveterate eavesdropper

Good morning all. Today for my MONDAY MAGIC post I'm talking about a bad habit I have. It's shameful I know, but I can't help myself.

They say that the first step is to admit it, so here goes --

I'm an eavesdropper.

There. I said it.

I am one of those terrible people who watches people and listens in on conversations. I know it's wrong.  I know it's invading the privacy of others, but that doesn't seem to matter to me. I do it anyway :-)  Bad me.

Occasionally I can't hear what they are saying, so I make up stories about what they might be saying. It's amazing how exciting the life of perfect strangers can be!

Other times I listen in while I'm walking down the street. Sometimes I can hear people inside their homes talking to each other, and other times they are talking as they walk. I hear conversations about things as mundane as what they had for dinner last night, or as deep as the answer to World Peace. Of course it's a lot more fun when I hear people teasing each other, or having fun!

My absolute favourite place to listen in is on the train. No one makes eye contact on a train these days so little ole me can sit quietly, pretend that I'm not there, and glean any number of conversations and file them away for future use.

My mother would be so disappointed in me. She tried to drum into me from an early age that it is rude to listen in to what others are saying, but can I remember what she taught me? No Mam.

So why do I do it? I have a really good reason, and you might even forgive me when you hear it :-) My mum might even understand.

Eventually ;-)

Okay, back to the reason I do it.

Research. Pure and simple.

That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it!  I file away stories, conversations, characters, situations, names - you name it, I steal it! But it's all in a good cause. They find their way into my stories eventually.

It's not all bad :-), and I'm certainly not giving it up just yet!

So next time you talk to a friend in public, remember - you never know who's listening. It could be me!

What bad habits do you have? Go on - you know you want to share!


Heather Boyd said...

Listening in on conversations ranks pretty high. Like you, it's research for speech patterns and possible stories but when I did commute it was impossible not to listen to anothers conversation because they often spoke so loudly.

Watching body language too is a big one for me. I totally blame the TV show Lie to Me for my interest. Even my 10yo loves the show and might be why I cannot catch his lies atm. Gotta work on that.

Maggie Nash said...

Yep. I love Lie to Me as well. Facial expressions, mannerisms, that slight tugging on the one is safe! And yes, my kids trick me sometimes too, but I guess I must have been a bit of a fibber when I was growing up because most of the time I catch them out trying something that I did myself! LOL

Ashlyn Chase said...

That's a great skill for a writer! Don't apologize for "researching realistic dialog!"

Maggie Nash said...

Thanks's a great research tool for sure. I love doing it, but I do wonder what people would think if they knew I was listening LOL

Lisabet Sarai said...

Me too. It never even occurs to me to be embarrassed. Hey, I figure nobody expects privacy these days.

And every now and then you pick up a great opening line!

Maggie Nash said...

Oh yes Lisabet! I've heard some wonderful conversations and the challenge is to remember them. I used to write stuff down in a notebook but sometimes it looks too obvious! I love the notes feature on my phone where I jot words, names and phrases down occassionally.