Paying Attention

OOPS…can someone give me a hand? images-1

I’m frequently asked how is it I find so many things to write about.

By paying attention to my surroundings.

Due to achy joints, I’ve been walking around the Park lately rather than running. The upside of this is you see more.

When I’m dashing like deer with tunnel vision, I miss a lot.

This morning a raccoon was crossing the road. It was light so his presence surprised me and another woman coming the opposite way. We both stopped allowing him to make it to the woods without incident. I said to the woman,”He must have missed his curfew.” People assume a raccoon is sick if he’s seen in daylight. I say, he’s just late…hit traffic or got stuck in a tricky trash bin. I enjoyed watching him scurry into the brush imagining his mother waiting for him by the door saying, “That’s it Rocky, you’re grounded till further notice.”

Then there are the sequoias, the palomino of trees, I never noticed before…so majestic lining the Park like speckled pillars. It wasn’t until taking a walk with a friend who told me their name did I begin to see them.

The Park itself, whose landscaping of yore is still so stately and beautiful doing Olmstead and Vaux, it’s creators, proud 157 years later, is a privilege to be in. How lucky am I that its five minutes from where I live.

A writer catalogs these things, placing them in memory like gifts to use at a later time.

I took a creative writing class with a teacher who made us write about fruit. What a stupid assignment this is, I remember thinking.

She said, “Tell me everything you feel about your specific fruit.”

Mine was a peach.

I can’t recall exactly what I wrote, but found myself with a 300 word essay. I remember the word succulent, how a ripe peach dripping down your chin is very sensual. It brought up a chef I dated who, rather than flowers, brought me bouquets of thyme and dill.

She made her point…one could write about anything if their memory comes along for the ride.

Believe it or not, I don’t write about everything that happens to me. It just seems as if I do. My goal is extreme candor I still tiptoe around. The day I can show up completely naked on the page not caring you see my imperfections, will be one helluva great day in my creative life.

In the meantime, I’ll just keep paying attention hoping for the best.



About Susannah Bianchi

I'm just a girl who likes to write slightly on slant. I've had a career in fashion, dabbled in film and to be honest, I don't like talking about myself. Now my posts are another matter so I will let them speak for themselves. My eBooks, A New York Diary, Model Behavior: Friends For Life and Notes From A Working Cat can be found on Thanks.
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29 Responses to Paying Attention

  1. skinnyuz2b says:

    You’re absolutely right, Susannah. Thanks for the reminder to look around and notice.


  2. Hello, SB,

    This is a great post. Reminds writers what they should be paying attention to. Cataloging is fun! You also seem like a fun person to have a conversation with. Thanks for sharing. πŸ™‚


  3. Elle Knowles says:

    I didn’t know that about raccoons. Glad that they are night beings because they are scary critters! πŸ˜‰


  4. katecrimmins says:

    It is all about paying attention. Over time, I have trained my mind to see things through a blog post. It terrifies my friends but it certainly has made ideas easier.


  5. Lynn says:

    As I have aged, I feel like a I do a much better job in taking the time to pay attention to my surroundings. Maybe I’m just slower! We spend so much of our life in hurry, in doing so, we miss so many little thing happening all around us. Thanks for the reminder Susannah!


    • I think age is a big factor. There was a time I wouldn’t care about a tree or a raccoon coming home late…my run was all that mattered. I ran around that park for 30 years and God only knows what I missed.


  6. micklively says:

    Seems to me, the park is an appropriate place for a wild city woman, if not a wicked one.
    You never mention that you’re within spitting distance of the sea. Does that not figure in your life?


  7. Writers take in everything and use them later. I’ll bet most people pass by all the things you write about and don’t even notice them.


  8. This is a huge reminder for me to stop making excuses and write!! Lord knows my head is on overload from all the things I notice on a daily basis!


    • Well, you do love to write…we know that…it’s a great outlet for you, for your intelligence and humor, the latter inspiring the rest of us.

      Maybe in your overloaded travels, you can scribble in a notebook to keep those thoughts in check and fingers agile…a suggestion from a pal of Chester’s.


      • The thing that has halted me is finding out that a neighbor of mine and another person have indiscreetly let me know they read my blog and have made mean spirited comments to me, in a shrewd way about some very personal things I’ve written about … it plastered me.


      • OKAY…WRITING 101


        Have you read Bossypants? Tina Fey has a whole chapter about ignoring the naysayers. These small individuals that sadly, are your neighbors, are probably so envious you write. The average person feels it’s right up there with discovering penicillin. You have to be bigger than the peanut gallery unless your Peanut of course.

        I say…move on and write. And no more brownies for them…lettem eat cake.


      • Why I let these these fuckers get to me is beyond me, by old habits are hard to kick. I think my next post will be about this subject, which I hope will put an end to the naysaying. Now let me go solve world peace or something.
        Thanks for the advice!!


      • That’s a great idea, and everyone you know will comment…so if these hens are still reading Life With The Top Down, they’ll get it from all of us…and you know what…we all hate to be mocked for whatever the reason is…and it’s usually by non-creative people you need to feel bad for…not play in their yard anymore, just see where the venom oozes from. You have an outlet, they don’t. So they’ll happily abuse yours.

        It’s very common.


      • PS And remember, it’s just a ride…some great writer has that at the end of her blog πŸ™‚


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