What's a writer to do when all she has to look at are legs and feet?
She pulls out her notepad and describes what she sees.
That writer was me last night during an electrical storm at Salem Civic Center. My husband, Chuck, and I sat on the hillside in our beach chairs watching the Drum and Bugle Corp perform when over the loud speaker the announcer warned everyone to seek shelter under the cement awning of the stadium.
Chuck and I grabbed our belongings and set up our chairs against a wooden table in the shelter. As we watched the sky morph into a patchwork of blues and grays, the space around us filled in, bodies pressing against one another. Thunder cracked and lightening split the sky, then rain pellets like falling stars dripped from the awning.
Our ears buzzed with the rush of the rain and the roar of conversation coming from the crowd. I plugged my ears with old tissue I salvaged from my purse and decided to hunker down and make the best of it until the storm subsided.
In the cramped quarters, I pulled out my notepad and proceeded to jot down observations. Since I sat in one of those beach chairs designed to wedge in the sand on the shoreline, I sat low, really low.
Perhaps someday, what I jotted about ankles, legs, and shoes will come in handy in a novel. :)
Full legs, skinny legs, hairy legs--mostly belonging to youth with smooth, taut skin. Quilt pattern Keds. Leather cowgirl boots. Velcro sneakers. White-laced sneakers in navy and black. Various forms of sandals--some with bejeweled straps. Striped Reeboks. An ankle with delicate flower tattoo.
When I exhausted my description on feet and legs, I lifted my gaze to heads. Boys with buzz haircuts, simple chains around their necks. Glasses with striped earpieces. Ear buds. Lots of tee-shirts in varying sizes, shapes, and colors, mostly dark shades. Cut-off jeans. French braids on the side of one head, tied in to a back ponytail. Long curly hair under a cowboy hat. An occasional cell phone chat, but not as much as I would have expected. A teen nibbling her nails, sunglasses anchored on the top of her head. A boy with water or sweat, probably both, dribbling off his hair and face, damp tee-shirt clinging to his chest.
This little distraction saved my sanity during the confinement, and before long, the rain stopped and we headed back to our hillside view of the bands.
My favorite: Carolina Crown with their elegant cream-colored uniforms etched in gold and white- plumed hats. Quite the creative performance, which included about six guys twirling massive silver cubes that glimmered under the stadium lights. Unfortunately, I didn't get a pic of them, but here are two other bands that played during the evening. The shots honestly don't do justice to these amazing bands! The sound, the precision, the color, the artistry--truly spectacular! I have yet to hear who won the competition, but my guess is Carolina Crown.
So, writer buds (and anyone else for that matter) who may need a diversion while waiting in uncomfortable circumstances, pull out your notepad and hone your description skills.
And if you notice a lot of references to legs, feet, and ankles in my next novel, well, now you'll know why.