Tuesday, June 29, 2010


Sometimes it’s helpful to listen to other people’s conversations. Of course, you’re not going to try to transcribe them. You’re going to listen and mark interesting phrases or turns of phrase or parts of conversation and use them sometime down the writing road when you’re in a scene. Most likely you’ll use a reasonable facsimile of them. I heard two teenage boys talking at the pool the other day. Not that I was purposely listening, but there I hanging onto the edge of the pool and they were talking loudly and what could I do? My ears were open. (I should mention I live in Austin, Texas.)

“It’s totally illegal to bury ashes on a mountain in Alaska,” one of the boys said.


“Illegal, Dude. I’m just saying.”

“Travis said throw his ashes off the mountain. That’s what he said. He said he wants his parents or someone to throw his ashes off a mountain in Alaska when he dies. ”

“Totally lame.”

“He didn’t say bury.”

“I’m pretty sure you can’t throw them off a mountain either. I'm pretty sure there’s a law against it.”

“Oh, come on.”

“There’s a lot of things you can’t do up there. Like you can’t throw a Moose out of a plane. You’d probably get like a huge fine for it.”


“What about Caribou?”

“I think Caribou are okay.”


Vonna said...

Love it! Kids are so funny.

Elisabeth Black said...

You hit the jackpot with that one.

Brian Yansky said...

Thanks, Vonna and Elisabeth--they are funny; I really love loopy conversations.

kathleen duey said...

Brilliant. Oh, do find a way to use that or some form of it somewhere. I sometimes sit in food courts. Eating v.e.r.y. slowly. Pretending to read.

Brian Yansky said...

Thanks, Kathleen. Food courts are a great idea if I can brave the mall.

Becca said...

I find it hard to believe that this conversation actually happened, but at the same time, I totally believe it.

Brian Yansky said...

Becca--Honest, it did. Or at least I tried to record the memory of it. But as a fiction writer I suppose my own rhythm for dialogue did influence the way I presented what I think I remember. BUT, I like what you said. That's what I do go for in fiction, that "I find it hard to believe" but I do. Getting there's always hard. I think it's in the details though--getting them right.

Unknown said...

That was beyond funny!