A writing instructor once told me to always listen to the conversations around me, for they are where a lot of great fiction dialogue would come. I took a trip this week up to visit an author and work on a manuscript. On the plane flights up and back, I listened. Here is what I heard, all mashed together:

"You put her in the cage? Why?"

"Well, we rented a car in Key West. We're adventurous like that."

"Dude, you know he's probably pocketing the sales tax."

"Lemon bars? Do you use real lemons or lemon juice? Actually, you know what I'm really hungry for? A sirloin steak."

"No, my virus protection doesn't do anything. It's dumb."

"So, just hire a landscaper and then get some bids. I do it all the time."

"Ohmygod! My wallet! It must've fallen out of my pocket. Can we go back to the terminal?"

"Hey. Whatcha' doing?" Nothing. Sitting in a shuttle. We're making good time though."

"The lady living with you is carrying your baby. I'm not carrying your baby."

"It's the best restaurant, but it'll set you back about $100 a plate. Can you do that or does it need to be cheaper?"

"The people back there have to stop singing. It's 10pm. Make them stop now!"

"Headsetssssssss? Headsetssssssss? Headsetssssssss?"

I wrote those sentences down when I heard them. People are a very interesting lot. But you have to listen.

I also read Jim Harrison's latest (Returning To Earth) on the flight. Here's a few I heard while reading:

"There are no damaged goods when everyone is damaged goods."

"Everyone is 'one.' An accident report might say that nine died, four of them in their teens, but each death was 'one.' Each of six million Jews was 'one.' With death it is a series of 'ones.'"

"I saw this evangelist on television and it embarrassed me that this man could talk about God as if he was a buddy next door. Before my mother was taken away to the Newberry State Hospital she told me it was best to talk to God in whispers or in your silent interior speech."

Fiction is very interesting. Full of conversations possibly overheard on airline flights and strung together by people who enjoy listening.

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