It’s almost gotten too easy now, everyone shouting into cellphones. Without the boundary of agreed-upon politeness, and a common sense of privacy, overheard conversations can seem mundane, in their all-engulfingness. Those sharp Cubist angles that used to slice into my life threaten now to melt into an Impressionist blur in which even the most seemingly intimate facts start to sound banal. But beggars can’t be choosers, and I continue to listen.
On Tuesday, I did an interview with a student about being a writer. She asked me how I develop details and dialogue for my characters. I motioned around the café we were sitting in and said, “I pay attention.”