Where Have I Heard That?

Redhead girl dreaming about traveling around the world.

This week’s topic was “Have you overheard a conversation and added it in some way to a story?”

I really struggled with this one. I’m assuming that the fox who suggested it has drawn inspiration from conversations she overheard.

I spent a few days turning over the books I’ve written, trying to figure out whether any of them contained dialogue that I’d heard elsewhere, but was unable to find anything I’d heard from other people. Frankly, I try to avoid listening in on other people’s conversations. But I finally realized that a conversation between the main characters in The Calico Heart is similar to several I had with my husband.

Hubby, as I’ve mentioned here, hates to travel. We’ve had plenty of invitations to go places, but he always preferred to stay at home. When my high school friends invited us to come and visit them in San Francisco, he said he had no interest in anything there. He didn’t want to visit my relatives in Japan, because he assumed he’d feel out of place. Even when my brother and his wife bought a time-share condo in Hawaii and invited us to go, he said he didn’t want to spend the money. Fortunately, he’s never stopped me from going anywhere.

When I started brainstorming an issue that would cause a conflict for the long-married couple in my story, I turned to my own life and the fruitless arguments we often had here. Sylvia Miller, newly retired and ready to travel the world, collects travel brochures and starts making plans. Dave, her husband, uses arguments similar to what I heard: “I don’t need to travel hundreds of miles for those things. I can see them on TV and be a lot more comfortable.” Another excuse was “We can’t afford for both of us to go” or “I’m just not interested in seeing anything there.”

Sylvia’s solutions actually mirrored some of mine. She got a part-time job to help pay for trips she wanted to take. And when Dave still refused to go, she found a travel group and joined them. Their final solution isn’t something that’s likely to happen in our home. I still travel alone, but hubby says he wants to go on a trip somewhere as soon as he recovers from his back issues. His surgery was last July, so I’m not holding my breath, but if we travel somewhere together, I’ll be sure to take a lot of pictures to prove to myself it actually happened!


About Patricia Kiyono

During her first career, Patricia Kiyono taught elementary music, computer classes, elementary classrooms, and junior high social studies. She now teaches music education at the university level. She lives in southwest Michigan with her husband, not far from her five children, nine grandchildren (so far), and great-granddaughters. Current interests, aside from writing, include sewing, crocheting, scrapbooking, and music. A love of travel and an interest in faraway people inspires her to create stories about different cultures. Check out her sweet historical contemporary romances at her Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/Patricia-Kiyono/e/B0067PSM5C/
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12 Responses to Where Have I Heard That?

  1. Jeff Salter says:

    Firstly, I sympathize with the situation you describe in which one spouse wants to go and do, but the other is a homebody (for whatever reason). Having been — at different times of my life — one who did go and do… and now one who can’t and won’t… I can see both sides of this conflict.
    I think it’s probably good therapy to use this basic conflict as a setting for the couple in your novel.
    Last spring (or early summer, can’t recall) some of our Sun. Sch. class members were participating in a trip to Mackinac Island (MI). My wife wanted to go, but I new the travel would be misery for me. So our compromise was that she went, roomed with a female friend (whose hubby was also not able to travel) and they had a great time. I stayed home, fed the chickens and goats, and wrote a lot.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Patricia Kiyono says:

      It certainly was good therapy for me to write about our conflict (the book released in 2012). As I mentioned, the couple in the book found a resolution, while ours is ongoing – but I’m more accepting now.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. My stories are riddled with things I’ve overheard or conversations I’ve had, as well as things I’ve said where I silently tell myself, remember that for one of your stories. LOL As are my writings full of actual scenes or incidents I’ve experienced or observed through the years. It adds realism to the stories. You are not ease-dropping…you’re “researching.” LOL But in reality, if you overhear something that’s spoken or see something done in public, it’s fair game. As long as you change the names (and descriptions) to protect the innocent (or maybe not so innocent (snicker))

    Liked by 3 people

    • Patricia Kiyono says:

      I suppose my female characters do tend to reflect conversations I have with myself. As for “researching” through other people’s conversations, I suppose it’s true that what people say in public is fair game, especially if they speak loudly enough that people can hear easily. But more often than not, I tend to be lost in my own thoughts.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I just told The Husband that I was going to finish my stories and not to be overly upset when he sees that in some ways, I borrowed from our relationship/situations, at least in one. (He will anyway.)
    I applaud your husband for letting you go. Mine lets me visit a couple of states over to see relatives, but I doubt that I could go to Asia!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Patricia Kiyono says:

      Hubby wasn’t thrilled about me being gone for three weeks the last time I went to Japan, but he realizes that if I’m going to travel that far – plus the fact that I don’t get there all that often – it made more sense to be there for an extended time. My trips to Europe were about a week to ten days each.


    • Situations between Arnie and me find themselves in my writing all the time. Mostly they’re humorous, and he laughs when I tell him what I wrote. He’ll say something or do something, and I’ll tell him, “Oooo, oooo, I have to remember that for a story. Or I’ll do something or say something, and he reminds me to write it down. LOL

      It’s a common almost every day occurrence that I threaten to tell my group forum about things he says. He says, “Don’t you dare tell them that.” Then he laughs because he knows I will. When I get a response from it. I tell him, and he has a good laugh then too.

      We have to laugh at ourselves. If a person takes him or herself too seriously, it stretches the ego out of shape. (tongue in cheek).

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Elaine Cantrell says:

    My husband isn’t a big traveler either. I like it in theory, but in reality I think it’s kind of hard to do.


  5. trishafaye says:

    I was laughing as I read your post. I’m wiping my brow with thankfulness that my ex isn’t a reader – because if he read (and knew my pen name LOL) he’d see himself or hear his words in more than one situation!
    Great post!


    • Patricia Kiyono says:

      That would be a sticky situation, for sure! I’m glad my hubby is easy going about me using him as inspiration for characters’ negative traits as well as positive. Thanks for weighing in.

      Liked by 1 person

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