Wednesday Writing Exercise: Overheard

Yesterday afternoon an argument broke out on my street. I could hear the yelling through open windows from every room in my apartment. The details are sketchy: it seemed to be among family members, about money—so sad. But one line stuck out:

“She’s my mother! She’s my queen! Isn’t your mother your queen?”

Indeed, some of the best dialogue, some of the best story starters, can be culled from what you hear around you. L.A. Times Magazine recognizes the treasure trove of eavesdropping  and publishes the best of what’s heard around town in a column called “Overheard.” We used one as a prompt at my writing group the other night:

“Wait, are we talking about Nietzsche or the Oscars?” –College students in a late-night discussion at Jerry’s Deli

Other gems from the column include

“I’m looking for one that will appeal to a jury.” –Older man shopping for a tie at Kohl’s

“I’m an atheist of the Jewish persuasion.” —Pedestrian on the Venice Boardwalk to a man handing out free literature

Not feeling inspired by the conversations going on in your neighborhood? Get started with more from “Overheard” here and here.


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