I love going to the grocery store.
Oh, not after I’ve worked all day, gone to the bank, put gas in the car, and packing the pantry is one more thing on my to-do list. I like to go in my spare time.
I enjoy wandering the aisles, checking out the produce section with all of its interesting colors and textures. The baked goods aisle, with a dozen kinds of dinner rolls, pastries and pies. Some stores have an entire aisle of coffees; Dunkin’ Donuts, McCafe, and many I’ve never even heard of. You can get regular cans of coffee, K-cups, or flavored beans to take home and grind yourself.
Grocery stores are wonderful places where I can usually find everything I need. Including characters.
I’m always in need of non-essential “people” for my stories; those walk-ons that every story needs to fill space and add interest.
I have found the tired out, stressed out mama who drags her cart through the store, a toddler in the front who is on mama’s last nerve with begging for things, and the overindulgent grandma who caves and indulges her grandchild’s every whim.
Would you like a popsicle? Let’s get two, one for you and one for grandma…
The starting out couple happily stocking up for their first home, consulting each other over every item, and the couple with matching heart tattoos who can’t seem to add a single item to their cart without a fight.
Fine, get the big box, then. We just won’t get milk this week…
Depending on what my story calls for, I try to see these people through my character’s eyes.
I am the young woman, six years married, who longs for a child.
I am the grandmother in Arkansas, who rarely sees her grandchildren in Vermont.
I am the thirty-something single woman who cannot fathom how you get from matching heart tattoos to squabbling over the price of ground beef.
Grocery stores are wonderful places where you can usually find just what you need. More than fresh strawberries, cake mixes and coffee, they are a rich source of everyday people doing life. Places where you can stock up on countless varieties of scenarios and dialogue, free for the taking. All you have to do is show up.