Creating With Overheard Dialogue (And Dogs!)

Yesterday at the grocery store, I overheard a woman telling the check-out clerk “Fourteen years ago, I rearranged my life so I can spend all my time with my dog!”

Overheard dialogue can make a great story starter. So my writing challenge to you today is to write a brief story or character description starting with the line I overheard.

Or, if that sentence doesn’t resonate with you, make your own by filling in the blank: “Fourteen years ago, I rearranged my life so I can ___________.”

Have fun with this, and share in the comments if you like!

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4 Responses to “Creating With Overheard Dialogue (And Dogs!)”

  1. 1 sand December 21, 2011 at 6:20 pm

    “Fourteen years ago, I rearranged my life so I can certifiably insane,” declared the woman who was near my age as she stood in the crowded waiting area of Dr. Catersino’s Ob-Gyn office. She began massaging the small of her back as if her life depended on it, groaning like a happy hound as she did so. The younger woman sitting next to me, was looking at her expectantly, waiting for this woman to elaborate. Suddenly the door to the office section burst open and the doctor’s assistant was calling out impatiently, “Hollyfield? Brenda Hollyfield?”

    “That’s me,” replied the crazy woman picking up her purse, and then dissapearing past the assistant and beyond. Watching her walk I noted that she didn’t quite have a duck walk, as much as it was a rolling amble of a momma bear.

    The very young woman next to me chuckled nervously once the door shut behind the crazy woman, and commented to her equally young friend, “Whatever.”

    Smiling to myself, I continued to appear fascinated by my travel magazine as mostly looked at photos. Several minutes passed and the office was unusually void of conversations. Leaning towards me the young woman cautiously asked, “Are you pregnant too?”

    “Oh, no! Not me! I might be crazy, but at my age I am smart.” I continued to look at my magazine, and I didn’t mention that I was there for relief from early premenopause symptoms.

    A few minutes passed and the young woman turned towards me again. Feeling her looking at me I met her gaze. “Wonder what she meant about being certifiably insane?”

    Once again the door burst open, but this time a different assistant was bellowing out the name of the next patient, which happened to be me. Hurriedly, I gathered my tote bag, and purse that is nearly as large as my tote bag, and started towards the door.

    Stopping suddenly, I spun around and met the young woman’s gaze directly, “Oh, about the crazy woman…. My guess this is her second child, she’s in her early forties, and they are fourteen years apart.”


    “Oh, yes. Remember this conversation in about thirteen years.” I said smiling knowingly and proceeded to pass the assistant to go into the office beyond.

    The assistant winked and chuckled as I passed her, “I give her twelve years if it’s a girl!”

  2. 3 Scriptor Obscura December 22, 2011 at 9:51 pm

    Once I was eating dinner at my local grocery store and I overheard a woman saying very loudly to her friend who was sitting across the table from her: “That guy saved me. I was going to choose between cutting myself, or setting myself on fire with gasoline. Instead, I went to see the Muppets.” ??? this has got to be the absolute most strange piece of dialogue that I have ever heard from anyone, fictional character or otherwise. Just goes to show that truth is really stranger than fiction, as the saying goes. She didn’t seem to care at all that she was talking so loudly that her conversations could be heard by everyone who was nearby.

    • 4 stranglingmymuse December 22, 2011 at 10:23 pm

      Wow. That is bizarre! You actually just reminded me of the strangest dialogue I ever overheard. I was on the subway, and two guys who clearly hadn’t seen each other for a few years noticed each other and started talking. When one asked the other how he’d been, he said his foot had been severed. For the rest of my subway ride, he calmly discussed the details of how his foot had been completely severed, and then reattached. The other guy just quietly listened. It definitely woke me up during my morning commute that day!


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