I think a lot of people have the same story. ‘I was six years old and I stole a pack of gum from the grocery store check-out line.’
Well, so did I. But I don’t know how many other people’s parents made them go back in and give the already-opened-and-chewing-a-piece bubblegum pack back to the security officer who they’d dooped just a few minutes before. Except my mother, ofcourse.
My next attempt, at age thirteen, was more lucrative. I was shopping with a group of seasoned adolescent girls who had been shoplifting ever since they realized they could. It was ‘all the rage’. We went into one of my favorite stores at the mall and I decided that for my first attempt, I was going to steal a necklace that was on one of the mannequins. It had no price tag and the clasp was at eye level.
I thought I was real smooth. First I pretended to examine the shirt while unclasping the necklace and letting it fall to the floor. Then I took another tour around the store before bending down to pretend to tie my shoe and picking up the fallen necklace; sticking it in my jeans pocket. Nobody stopped me and I got away with grand jewelry theft (ok, the thing probably cost five whole dollars) scot free.
Two weeks later a few of my besties were held up at the downtown pharmacy and their parents and the police were called. Let’s just say shoplifting went from ‘cool’ to ‘stupid’ pretty quick.
But that doesn’t mean that I don’t still do it….when I write.
Think about it. How many times do we see a person, article, place, or building and think ‘This would be really useful in my story.'? We pick it up, put in our pockets and examine it closer when we arrive in the safety of our own homes. Most of the time, we don’t even do this intentionally. It just happens. But if we look at our manuscripts- really look, I’m sure almost everyone will find little scraps, bits, and pieces taken from a myriad of places and people. Like somebody’s dumped out my pre-teen handbag.
Do you ever find yourself being a ‘petty thief’ for the purpose of writing?
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