You remember I’m a people-watcher. All writers are. We watch and listen all the time. Sometimes, whole stories come out of a session of people watching. I sold the short story Airport Departures after a session of people watching. (Read it in Woman’s Weekly Fiction Special November issue)
So here’s a reminder of the market picture.
They come to my stall every week. Always they buy the same things. Three years they have been buying my produce and still they do not know the French word for the food they eat.
This was my father’s stall. And his father’s before. Grandfather came from Spain when there was no work after the civil war. He picked grapes for the French growers. He was just a boy. He watched his parents grow old working other people’s fields and he determined to hand down something better to his own children. So he saved and bought land.
We still grow our fruit and vegetables in those same plots of land and we bring them to market. Now, it is my time to watch the stall. One day I will hand over to my own son.
I wish she wouldn’t do this. I wish she wouldn’t make such a fuss over every damned piece of fruit and salad. She picks over everything on the stall. Goes through it with a bloody magnifying glass. Almost. It’s embarrassing. Come on, Nancy, just pay the guy.
If only she’d drive. She’s getting worse. Losing confidence. Won’t go anywhere by herself. I have to accompany her every time she leaves the house. I don’t want to be impatient with her, but I can’t help it sometimes. Like now, when she’s quibbling over a twenty cent piece. The poor guy’s shown her the ticket. As far as I can see, it’s all correct.
You have to watch every penny. I mean cent. I still haven’t got my head around the Euro. These small coins all look the same to me. Oh, dear. This was meant to be our last little adventure together. Living abroad, somewhere in the sun while we still had the energy to enjoy it. But it’s so difficult. Graham has made no attempt to learn the language. Whenever we go out he depends on me to translate and I can’t remember things the way I used to.
Not a complete story – just a snapshot, but you can see how characters will develop.
Writing short pieces like this helps to fire the synapses. Get the creative juices flowing. It probably won’t be the best thing you ever wrote, but that doesn’t matter. It’s an exercise, and as with everything, the more you practise, the better you get.
Leave a comment and I’ll get back to you. Happy writing!