“I stop for yard sales,” says Annie, in her classic article from The New York Times Writer’s on Writing column.
“A whole set of metaphoric shovels is part of my tool collection, and for me the research that underlies the writing is the best part of the scribbling game.”
“I listen attentively in bars and cafes, while standing in line at the checkout counter, noting particular pronunciations and the rhythms of regional speech, vivid turns of speech and the duller talk of everyday life.”
“The need to know has taken me from coal mines to fire towers, to hillsides studded with agate, to a beached whale skeleton, to the sunny side of an iceberg, to museums of canoes and of windmills, to death masks with eyelashes stuck in the plaster, to shipyards and log yards, old military forts, wildfires and graffiti’d rocks, to rough water and rusty shipwrecks, to petroglyphs and prospectors’ diggings, to collapsed cotton gins, down into the caldera of an extinct volcano and, once or thrice in the middle distance, in view of a snouty twister.”
Perhaps you have found, like Annie, that a preference for the craft of writing pushes you towards places, observations, and experiences you wouldn’t have otherwise noticed. Perhaps it’s your noticing that pushes you to write. Read more of Annie’s preferred digging grounds at nytimes.com, and don’t forget your shovel!