Weird Men in the Library – Wednesday Writing Wisdom?

I went to a library in another town so that I could write without being interrupted by the dog, cat or phone.

IMG-2278Marsie, if you don’t know, insists on me petting her whenever she eats. She eats a lot. It isn’t productive for the novels.

Anyway, it was really fun being in a different library, sort of like this spiritual experience, so I wandered around looking at people taking out books, which was awesome.

I meandered through the children’s section, which was much bigger than ours. Then I sat down in the room with all the magazines and the comfy chairs. There were way more comfortable chair there than in my library, too, no offense to my library.

I tried to make myself as unfriendly as possible because the goal here was to work.

I moved a big chair away from where it faced four other chairs, turned it around so that it was one foot away from a big window. I sat with my legs crossed, turned on my notebook, plugged in my headphones and started writing.

One hour later he came… a little, old man brandishing a newspaper.

He motioned to me. “Miss?”

I took out my headphones and smiled.

He showed me the paper, stabbed his finger at a headline.

“I think a young person like you should hear this,” he started and then went into a BIG BIG speech about how bad this person is. How he (the old man) is a former military person. He then listed crimes and talked for about eight million hours about how bad the person he was pointing at is.

I nodded.

I am not a fan of the person he was pointing at. So, I got it.

BUT THEN… the nice, angry, little old man, hiked up his khaki pants so that I could also get a good glimpse of his white socks and he announced in the loudest voice possible, “I don’t know why the Hell someone hasn’t assassinated him already.”

Someone across the refrence room snarfed. I looked for help. Everyone looked away, everyone, that is, except the little old man.

He then went on about it’s so darn hard to assassinate someone.

I was about to tell the angry, little, old man that calling for assassination and murders for hire wasn’t really the best idea in a library, but he decided his monologue was over and stomped off.

First though he yelled back, “I just thought a young person like yourself should think about these things.”

I smiled then, because, hey, he may be a ninety-year-old assassin wanna-be, but he thinks I’m young person who doesn’t think about anything! Me! If only. . . I don’t know how NOT to think about things.

I enjoy it when people size me up and fail. But then it makes me wonder about how many times I think I ‘get’ people and I don’t, about how we’re all the heroes in our own story, but in other people’s stories? We’re the bad guy. We’re the sidekick. We’re Person #3 in the coffee shop.

The thing is that this wild man gave me a gift. Now I can use him for a story. I can think about how he smelled and talked and gesticulated. I can think about those white socks and make them mine.

So, my Wednesday Writing Wisdom is use everything you can for story. File it away. Remember the details, the emotion, everything you can and make the rest up.




Do Good Wednesday isn’t about advocating for people’s death or staring at their socks. It’s about finding ways to help others.

There are a couple of apps that can help you locate a cool place to volunteer in your community.

One way is GOLDEN, which is meant to help people find ways to volunteer and have those “golden moments” in their lives.  You can find places to volunteer and help the world, but you can also search for volunteers to help your nonprofit with its projects.


And you can also list your volunteer needs for your nonprofit on Eventbrite, which has a Charities and Causes section. Click on the Search icon (bottom of screen or in the search bar near the top of the screen). Charities and Causes will be a category. That’s pretty cool. You can find awesome ways to support awesome things. This is what I saw when I searched for my town:

Screen Shot 2018-01-17 at 12.03.59 PM

So, go out there. Do good in big and little ways. Write your heart out. Turn uncomfortable people into characters. You’ve got this.


Author: carriejonesbooks

I am the NYT and internationally-bestselling author of children's books, which include the NEED series, FLYING series, TIME STOPPERS series, DEAR BULLY and other books. I like hedgehogs and puppies and warm places. I have none of these things in my life.

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