The other day I ended up in a building that hosted the federal circuit court for 9+ hours.
No, I wasn’t a guest of agency nor did I commit any crime. I was there as a witness. After waiting in the hallway for 6 hours, I finally had my 5 minutes of notoriety on the witness stand. Then the nice bailiff escorted me out and I was out there another 3 hours.
No electronics, my phone turned off in a sealed bag. No tablet. Two paper backs (Terry Brooks’ – Sword of Shannara and Mira Grant’s Feed), editing on a short story, a spiral bound notebook, and pens.
Here’s what happened. I edited a story as I only had pen and paper, it was enlightening. No one sat by me because I was whispering the story out loud. Once I got to the point of mayhem and death, even the bailiffs were watching me carefully.
I read the Sword of Shannara in it’s 726 page glory. Having not brought the next book in the series, I read all 599 pages of zombie awesomeness in Mira Grant’s FEED. Alas, I only brought the first book as well. I was truly limited by my handbag of holding.
As I scribbled notes and passages for my current WIP, I realized that I had too many distractions. But not enough distractions to note the judicial system in action (inspiration everywhere).
Normally, I would have put on my headphones and used music to block out all the individuals showing up at the intake bailiff’s door (have you been counting how many times I’ve used the word bailiff?). A young man in the courtroom committed the cardinal sin of not turning off his cellphone. The bailiff was hot on his heels as he bolted from the room. She confiscated his phone. There may have been an urge to applause on my part.
That was the bright spot that kept me from losing my will to live.
This was not my most productive day. BUT, I met a couple of nice baillifs, an awesome physical therapist, a couple of frustrated moms (son’s on probation), and a nice bunch of lawyers.
You can bet your aunt fanny my cellphone was back on when I cleared the security section on my way out of the building. Then I turned it off because there was too much going on (there is no win here).
I think if I’d been back at the Porches or another place where I could at least have my music, the experience would have been a bit more productive.
Why am I sharing this will you? My disconnectedness didn’t limit my power of observation. There are couple of character studies in process. An understanding of quiet (except when it wasn’t), and bailiffs are people too.
I’d rather go offline voluntarily. This experience reminded me to keep my nose clean. Prison apparel does not suit me. Sharing a very small place with another person will leave me farther down the insanity scale. And I like being able to research things with the quick query to Google.
Back to writing. Everyone have a fabulous weekend!