Filling Up the Dead Spaces

“Books are the perfect entertainment: no commercials, no batteries, hours of enjoyment for each dollar spent. What I wonder is why everybody doesn’t carry a book around for those inevitable dead spots in life.” ~Stephen King

The inevitable dead spots. You know where they are. The doctor’s office, in between classes, IN classes, on the subway ride to work. All of these dead spots in life should be filled with something. So, why not read or write?

It may not be a comfy sofa, but it is a great time to read!

For King, it was simple. Reading was the easiest way to learn how to write. Eventually, King’s reading in the dead spaces gave way to writing in them. It’s a logical cause and effect for those who pay enough attention.

I learned early on how fulfilling it was to read every chance I got. When I truly found a good book, NOTHING stood in my way of reading it. I would find the time to read because that was the most important thing on my mind. Now, it has transitioned into writing. I’ve been writing on the go for as long as I’ve had a dream of being a writer. Most of my writing has been done outside of a desk at home whether it be an assignment for class, poem, or just a note to a friend.

The pivotal point for my writing on the go was six years ago. I was working at a grocery store, and the downside to the job is that you have to wait, A LOT!  It gave me an opportunity to write notes to friends and my boyfriend, but it was only until my first book idea came that I appreciated the free time. My first book idea was the  role of those who served others. I’m not talking about the heroes like soldiers or firemen. I’m talking about those who literally serve: waitresses, cleaners, cashiers, cooks, manual laborers etc. All of the people who are taken for granted by those we call “customers” or consumers. We take for granted the hard work it is to handle each other.

As sad as it is, we change who we are the moment we walk into a store or restaurant that we aren’t going to work at.  Sometimes those who have worked a crappy service job still don’t understand the respect other people deserve, but humanity isn’t perfect. What I know after 5 years of working as a cashier is that respect is a precious commodity, and it needs to be earned by the customer. Screw them being right! So, I began to write. Every minute of my shift, I wrote down the things that bothered me, the exciting chance to meet a interesting customer, and the sad part of leaving the new friends I’d made. It was the sarcastic, funny, mostly fictional story that thousands would read.

Once I started writing notes for my novel, the writing on the go grew. Two summers ago, I began a short story that completely altered my writing. It was a crime story based off the cliches of 1940s and 1950s detective fiction. Being a writer became a reality thanks to the time I spent writing little-by-little in the dead spaces. Today, I write everywhere I can, even at work. Although it may not be conducive to writing large amounts, the small bits of writing I get while on lunch give me the inspiration when I write at home. Something about being distracted by the job releases the creativity in me.

Where is the weird dead space you’ve written or read? On a public toilet? In a meeting? At a family dinner? Share the times you’ve spent filling the dead spaces in life.

Disgusting and un-sanitary? YES! Productive? HELL YEAH!

Happy reading and writing, wherever it is!


Filed under Idea of the Day

5 responses to “Filling Up the Dead Spaces

  1. I’ve never really been able to write outside the house. I’m too easily distracted. However, your comment about the service industry struck a chord. When we first moved to our current neighbourhood, there was a small grocery store within walking distance. They have the best meats and over the years, it has become my favourite place to shop – not because of the food or the prices (they can be slightly higher than Superstore or Costco) but because of the friendly service. I was at the lunchmeat counter one day when a miserable customer came up and grumbled her order and complained about something (I can’t even remember what it was) then stomped off. I glanced at the woman behind the counter and rolled my eyes. I said to her, “I guess she doesn’t know that a smile goes a long way!” The woman smiled back, appreciatively. We’ve had a few friendly discussions since then when there wasn’t a long line-up behind me. I applaud those who serve others like that because there are some nasty people out there. I don’t think I’d have the patience to deal with them!

    • I wish the world had your attitude! Too many people do not appreciate what people do in those types of jobs! We’re lucky to have the friendly customers like you! And I can write at home, it just seems so different writing when I’m not forcing myself to sit down and write. It liberates me to think clearly, I guess.

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  3. Looks like I will have to start doing this, the lack of it probably attributes to my terrible writing skills.

    • It fills up a lot of time you would normally waste, and it is NEVER a bad thing to be reading all of the time. Your writing isn’t going to change overnight, but you will learn just by reading good writing even for fun! It’s also important to read a book thinking like a writer. Once you start noticing how an author writes a good story, then you can learn how to improve your own writing. It’s not copying just learning how it’s done and applying it differently to your own work.

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