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Eaves-Dropping for Inspiration

My husband gave me a gift certificate to my favorite consignment shop for our anniversary. For months, I put off using it. I was knee deep in writing the first draft of my third novel. But the minute I typed “The End,” I celebrated by grabbing my certificate and heading to “Nearly New.”

I love this consignment shop. It’s in the basement of the funkiest retro mall in Louisville, frequented by aging hippies, Goth teens, and skateboarders.

Each time I enter Nearly New, whose décor is vintage 1950’s, I go into total exploratory mode as I ferret through racks and racks of clothing on a mission to find recycled treasure.  Of course, as I age and more and more body parts drift southward, recycled treasure increasingly amounts to cool stuff that hides those… well, less than optimal figure features.

But it isn’t just the treasure that draws me. It’s the conversations. I admit it. I am incredibly nosey, as I suspect many writers are. There’s a reason why there’s a T-shirt that says, “Be careful or you’ll end up in my novel.”

On this particular day, I eaves-dropped on an awesome conversation between a father and a tween daughter. It was Halloween week, and the daughter, a girl with a wide smile and waist length hair, was shopping for her first boots with heels to go with her costume.  Instead of telling her which boots to select, the dad asked her questions and made suggestions about what factors to consider—comfort versus style, how long she expected to wear them, etc. He spoke to her so respectfully and lovingly that tears came to my eyes.

Maybe it’s because I grew up in a household where I was always told what to think and how to feel—but every time I see a parent who is really listening and treating his offspring with loving respect, I feel like the Grinch. My heart grows several sizes bigger.

P.S. Have you ever over-heard a conversation that brought you to tears? I’d love to hear about it.

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