Why We Write

As I sit in my usual morning coffee shop working to finish a story, I realize that I've come to see a lot of similar faces during the week. And a number of them have that look. Perhaps it's hard to explain, but I think it's fairly easy to pinpoint a writer, whether a novelist, poet, critic, calligraphist. In between use of their pen or keyboard, there's the wandering eyes. Always looking at passerby's, images, movement, just something that may inspire a thought or piece. I still have a very difficult time referring to myself as a "writer," but I do exhibit these traits. Past girlfriends used to always ask about my wandering eye and why they'd find me staring at a family, chef, bus driver, homeless person, executive or just about anyone. It was almost always because I was searching for a story. And 95% of the time I wasn't trying to have something that could be transferred to paper; I just wanted to know. Who is that person? What brought them here? What and who do they miss? What does that facial expression tell me? Are they lonely?

There's a guy across from me right now who has the look. He has a pen in hand, he's occasionally writing on a long yellow notepad and his eyes are everywhere. He's searching. It's a look I've always loved to see. Curiosity and wonderment.