overheard

“it’s just a sketch. that’s what it’s all about.”

i had just sat down outside. a man was sitting one table away. his gray hair was covered by a hat only a foreigner or an artist could pull off. he was both. he was speaking to a woman at another table, but who was leaning so far over in her chair, they were practically at the same table. two different generations. two different nationalities. two different genders. both interested in art.

and then there was me.

i was intrigued by this unusual pairing, but i wasn’t there to eavesdrop. besides, his original words gave me plenty to think about because here he was an artist and there i was a writer, but his words applied to us both. in any creative endeavor, or really, any type of endeavor, it’s all about the sketch, the first draft, the practice.

the beginning is the time to take chances, to try out new writing instruments (pens/pencils/oils/keyboards/word/scrivener) and structures and characters and words and make a mess and generally flail around. it’s when mistakes are allowed and confusion is abound and you’re doodling in the margins.

the sketch is the backbone of the final picture and is what it’s all about because you can’t have a finished product if you haven’t even started it.

his words were also directly applicable to my newest character, who’s a bit of an artist herself. sketches, in particular, are very important to her and i still can’t quite believe the perfection of that moment. me sitting, him speaking. it’s like i was in a movie where the thing i needed to hear was the exact thing that was said to me (or in my case, near me).

even though it’s nothing i haven’t heard before, his words were peppered with humility and honesty and were softly tinged with an accent not from nearby which made me feel like i was hearing this combination of words for the first time.

sometimes the best advice is something you already knew.

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10 Responses to “overheard”

  1. adriana (@adicloud) Says:

    How serendipitous! I love when something completely random relates perfectly to something I’m considering writing about. I also find that it happens a lot more when I’m paying attention :) I see more connections if I’m looking for them :)

    • abby mumford Says:

      “i see more connections if i’m looking for them.” that sounds kind of like that whole saying about luck: (i’m paraphrasing) luck = preparedness + the right timing or something. basically, you don’t get lucky, it’s just that you’ve done the work so that when opportunity presents itself, you’re ready.

      wow, i’m eloquent in the morning.

  2. Karla Nellenbach Says:

    what a perfect thing to overhear. and definitely applicable to any writer :)

    love your last line. complete truth!

    • abby mumford Says:

      i’ve always wanted to live out a movie scene. granted, i was usually picturing me having an awesome “meet cute,” but hey, i’ll take what i can get. random advice from a stranger! :)

  3. lindagrimes Says:

    Love this post! And it’s so true–good advice rings true because somewhere deep inside we already know it. :)

  4. Grandpa Says:

    Great idea – kepp it up. Love, Grandpa

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