Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Thieves

When I got to the yoga studio yesterday, I was surprised to see that iron security "fences" had been installed on the windows and door of the nearby quilt shop.

There had been four burglaries since the first of the year, ten quilts stolen in all.

Quilts?

Okay. Apparently, one was worthy $2,500. But, still.

Here is the moral dilemma of the writer: Instead of being appalled that anybody would steal...anything, the writer becomes obsessed wondering who in the world would break into a quilt store four times and steal ten quilts--and why?

We considered this before class. Nobody came up with anything that made much sense. One person did suggest that they might put those little chips in them so they could be traced.

"What if they traced it to a nursing home and some old person was all wrapped up in it," someone observed. "What would you do then?"

And therein lies one of probably a gazillion stories you might write, starting with this weird little incident. What if...

Years ago, in the eighties, when Laura Ashley dresses were all the rage, I happened to be in London during the store's big July sale. Prices were astonishingly low, and I got into major frenzy--grabbing dresses, trying them on, keeping some, abandoning others, getting more to try. When, finally, I had decided which ones I wanted and went to the check-out to pay for them, I went to take the smaller purse (with money, credit cards, and passport in it) out of my big shoulder bag, but it wasn't there.

All I could figure was that someone had reached under the dressing room partition and taken it from my (stupidly) open bag, which I had set on the floor while I tried on the dresses.

Which meant the thief had to be a woman. Plus, it was an upscale store in an upscale neighborhood, there was a security cop keeping an eye on things. Which meant she had to look enough like the other women in the store to escape notice.

It got weirder.

It was too late to go to the embassy to see about replacing the passport, but when I called the next morning, prepared for a major ordeal, I was informed that the purse, with passport, had been turned in at the Victoria Station Lost & Found. I could pick it up any time.

Predictably, the cash (about $300 in sterling, francs and guilders) and travelers' checks were gone. But the passport was there, so was my credit card. When I travel, I always make a little index card with money conversions on it for handy reference. The index card was still in the purse, torn in half by the thief and put back in its place--as if to say, Ha! You won't be needing this anymore.

This detail thrilled me. It seemed worth the lost cash and the hassle. I knew I would get a story out of it--and, in time, I did.

I wonder where people who aren't writers put the things in their lives that make them angry or dispirited or sad. Or happy, for that matter? All that build-up of emotion. Where can it go? How do they make sense of it?

Those quilts. Was the thief a kind of Robin Hood, stealing the beautiful quilts to keep frail elderly people warm? A pissed-off kid, maybe belonging to the middle-aged lady who own the store? The lady herself, collecting insurance to pay bills for a sinking business? A jealous customer who botched the quilts she tried to make herself? A quilt dealer who...

Like I said, there are a gazillion possibilities.

Pick one. Begin.

35 comments:

Vonna said...

Wonderful post, Barbara! Writers are fortunate to have such a handy way of turning unhappy circumstances into intriguing stories.

溫緯李娟王季 said...

安一估~你也安一估哦~............................................................

明中明中 said...

加油!!! 很棒的分享~..................................................

恩如 said...

來幫推 你個blog影d相真係好靚,係我至愛~ ..................................................................

雅芳 said...

thx rfor you sharing~~learn it by heart..................................................................

芸茂芸茂 said...

去冬眠以前,臨去秋波一下~~大家順利!!!............................................................

宥妃宥妃 said...

人生中最重要的是要自尊、自愛、自立、自強、自信。..................................................

于倫 said...

每日都有新日光,每日都有新希望。.......................................................

吳婷婷 said...

Look before you leap.............................................................

lafferty_tim said...

I'd like to think it was a homeless person, who distributed the quilts to friends. If you go out at night you might see some people sleeping slight less rough.

Come back to London soon. Hopefully you won't need to get robbed to get a good story this time! Timx

莊雅和莊雅和莊雅和 said...

教育的目的,不在應該思考什麼,而是教吾人怎樣思考............................................................

劉明倫劉明倫 said...

Prevention is better than cure.............................................................

吳婷婷 said...

很喜歡你的部落格,來給你加油,幫你推一下喔~期待你的下一個更新,謝謝.................................[/url]...............

錢靜怡錢靜怡錢靜怡 said...

這麼用心的經營你的文章, 當然值得我們留連拜訪的!..................................................................

佳瑩佳瑩 said...

堅持是為著某種目的或目標,而持續不斷朝向既定方向努力的一種意念。..................................................

蕙春蕙春 said...

此處是值得一探究竟的好部落格!!..................................................................

廖淑鄭志嘉娟 said...

哇~酷哦~推你一把~正文(・(ェ)・)............................................................

劉士賢劉士賢 said...

Learning makes life sweet.

DaniloM_W志竹olff0615 said...

Judge not of men and things at first sight.............................................................

治冠霖士 said...

看到好文章心情就很好 ^^..................................................................

李蔡文山家榮 said...

一時的錯誤不算什麼,錯而不改才是一生中永遠且最大的錯誤............................................................

翔馨陳陳翔馨陳陳 said...

Knowledge is a treasure, but practice is the key to it.................................................

凱許倫 said...

所有的資產,在不被諒解時,都成了負債.................................................................

文王廷 said...

Poverty tries friends...................................................................

徐雅黃昱行婷 said...

Pen and ink is wits plough...................................................................

雅王任 said...

大肚能容,了卻人間多少事,滿腔歡喜,笑開天下古今愁。..................................................

校仪 said...

困難的背後,隱藏著通往成功的階梯............................................................

凱v胡倫 said...

所有的資產,在不被諒解時,都成了負債.................................................................

陳倩江陳倩江陳倩江 said...

天助自助者~~大家一起加油!為了更好的將來!..................................................................

怡楊雯 said...

生活總是起起伏伏,心情要保持快樂才好哦!!............................................................

峻胡邦慧v帆 said...

教育的目的,不在應該思考什麼,而是教吾人怎樣思考......................................................................

7987 said...

快樂,是享受工作過程的結果......................................................................

建枫 said...

認真的看完~~幫你推一下............................................................

孟謝謝謝凱謝謝謝謝 said...

學而時習之,不亦樂乎˙ω˙..................................................................

璇陳陳陳竹 said...

生命的意義,是在於活的充實;而不是在於活得長久。............................. ...................................