Really truly paying attention

Am I an information sponge because I’m a naturally curious person? I don’t know, but for some reason I pick up story ideas everywhere I go. It helps, of course, that I actually live in this town — I mean, I am truly rooted here. So I get my hair cut here, I go to the dentist here, I take my dog to the dog park here.

I just listed some “Third Places,” and the more time you spend in these places, the more likely you are to find out what’s really on people’s minds.

Wherever I go — especially when I wait — I tend to yack it up with people. Obviously, I’m not carrying a notebook. But as soon as I can make notes in my phone or on the back of a receipt from my handbag, I do it. So I won’t forget.

That’s what today’s reading/viewing is about: how to operate effectively in Third Places (first step is knowing what they are) and how to pull ideas out of your day-to-day life, by “noticing what you notice,” as Beth Macy puts it in this fine piece.

Watch the video. Read the Macy piece. Tomorrow, we’ll talk about both of these pieces and have a conversation about story ideas — where they come from, and some habits you can develop that are likely to help you stay ahead of the news and be a great story generator.

Meanwhile, do you have a favorite story of the week you’d like to nominate from the past week? It’s time to get our traveling trophy on the road. So come to class with your nominations.

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