Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Do You Snoop?

My mother was a wonderful woman with many fine qualities, but heaven knows, she loved to snoop! Not in a malicious way, she just loved to know all the little details about everyone around her.

All through junior high and high school my sister and I would catch her listening in to our telephone conversations, or going through our notebooks for possible notes our friends had passed to us during class. (You know those folded scraps of paper passed stealthily hand-to-hand right under the teacher's nose.) But most unforgivable of all to my teenage mind, my mother opened every piece of mail that arrived at our house. No matter who it was addressed to, she opened it and read it first. ACK!!!

My sister claimed not to mind. HUH?!?! I think she just liked the extra attention. I was mortified beyond belief, mostly because Mom would openly admit to her snooping and ASK about things she'd read or heard! Oh the horrors! Oh the teen angst!

Looking back on it now, my mom's snooping was pretty harmless. And I'm sure she would tell you she was just trying to be a responsible parent, which was also true. But I think it went beyond that. She genuinely liked to know. I think snooping was one of the things that made my mom an avid reader.

Reading about characters is a kind of snooping. You are privy to their thoughts, actions, and motivations. Sometimes you get to find out things (or figure things out) before they do!

Needless to say, this little apple didn't fall far from the tree. Yup, I love to snoop too, but I like to think I'm a bit more covert than my mother was, at least when it comes to friends and family. Not necessarily while reading. I've been known to mutter at the characters even while I'm deeply engrossed in reading. On occasion, I've even shouted out, "I KNEW IT!" when a plot twist happened just the way I suspected.

As for my writing, one of the things I love most about it is knowing all the little details of my characters lives. Even if those thoughts, feelings, experiences never quite make it onto the page, I still feel more competent to tell their stories just by knowing all about them. I've even been guilty of rubbing my hands together in gleeful anticipation because I know what's about to happen and I know how my poor characters are going to react.

Yes, yes, I know. We writers are a weird lot. But it's so much fun! Besides, snooping on my characters keeps me out of trouble with my friends and family members who would much rather I not do my snooping about them.

What about you? Do you like to snoop? Ever been caught? Or do you snoop openly like my mother used to do?


Jane said...

My aunt and cousin are stealth snoopers and I learned from the best. I do occasionally snoop.

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Ah HA! It runs in your family too, Jane. ;-)

Nothing wrong with a little harmless stealth snooping, I say!