I’ve spent the last year of my life in utter isolation writing a book series from start to finish. During that time, as you can imagine, I talked very little. Since the time of finishing the book series, I have reentered the world of talking humans, and sought to tell them about my book, get them to read my book, and insist upon them just how great my book truly is.
Nobody wants to read my book.
Do you know why? We live in a world where relationships are a two-part effort. In order for someone to take an interest in you, you must have an interest in them. I have realized that I love to talk, and hate to listen. I also realize that everyone else is pretty much the same way.
For this reason, I intend to listen and learn from people as much as humanly possible. I intend to hear out any person who will speak, which for me is most often going to be Starbucks employees, grocery store workers, and people I run into on the streets. I am going to write a short story about my encounters everyday, in order to be certain I listen, and also to show the beauty which surrounds us, yet we so often fail to take notice of. I can promise you the stories will be true, and I will do my best to portray any person I meet in a heroic light, for we are all heroes in our own journeys.
Day One – Doug
Doug is my friend from Rite-aid. I go into rite-aid frequently, and he is one of the very few people I have gotten to know over the last year. He listens to me rant constantly about my book, actually is going to read my book, and sounds as though he likes my book. But today, ladies and gentlemen, our story is about Doug, and not my book.
Doug has wispy white hair and small glasses. He is always an exciting person to talk to, and more than a few customers greet him on a friendly basis. He has worked in my neighborhood for over thirty years, working at the photo-department of K-mart before he came over to Rite-aid. He cherishes the art of developing negatives and working with black-and-whites. When he was in high school, he used to write, but always had a difficult time with music and other forms of art. He is arguably the kindest gentlemen I have ever known. He has a wife and a daughter who used to dance. Just today as I approached him, he spoke about how hectic the night was. He had just met with a woman who had been married for fifty years and was going to separate from her husband. He was visibly upset about the matter.
We spoke briefly about writing, and I encouraged him to come on over to wordpress and create his own blog. He insisted he wasn’t sharp enough, which in all my findings usually means he is probably a great writer who is all-too-critical of himself.
Of course, as Doug always does, he eventually turned the conversation over to me, in order to listen to the on-goings of my own life. Doug is a great guy, and I would be lucky to turn out like him. Day after day, he brings smiles on the faces of his customers, and listens to people who don’t get listened to very often. People like Doug are the salt of the earth, I can only hope to be as good a listener as he one day. I truly hope I can get my book series published in order to thank him in print so all will know how much his encouragement has helped me and sustained my desire to pursue my dream. Thank you Dougy, we need more people like you.
– Thomas M. Watt
I’ve often been told I’m a great listener… and so I have the opposite problem that you have. I have to fight to stop listening to people in order to write. I only mention this because I think there has to be a balance. Somewhere between you and me, maybe it is to be found.
I look forward to reading all of your Listening stories.
Wow that is a good problem to have. I need to learn more from you. If you can listen a lot, you are probably very good at writing dialogue.