Learning in Real Life

6 Jul

I love farmers markets!  Love working them, love talking to people, just love the whole atmosphere of it all.  A market is a community of sorts. The vendors all know each other, and you get to know regular customers by name, and it’s just a very cool scene to be in on a nice summer’s day.

Amanda and her husband just purchased a home and they move in August 1st.  She is quite excited about it.  Brenda tasted our goat cheese for the first time and said we should rename it “OH MY GOD!”  Bob’s daughter is going into first grade next year and he’s one proud father.  Olivia is on vacation in Atlanta to see relatives.  An old friend of mine, someone I haven’t seen in 35 years, stopped by and spent some time with me at the market last week.  It was great to see him. Bev is doing what Bev does best, making people feel welcomed, making people feel as though they matter, and they all love her for it. Anthony’s daughter played music for four hours, non-stop, guitar and piano, just winging it song after song after song, a twenty-something young woman with the talent of five people.  The local fire crew stopped by and supported us; I gave them some free cheese in appreciation for the work they do.

And so it goes, week after week, new friends, old friends, people being people, laughing, supporting, interacting, one big extended happy family, just one small event in one small town in the United States, Tumwater, Washington, a dot on the roadmap of life, but oh, so important.

These are the people we novelists write about.  These are the people you non-fiction writers write to.

I can’t say this enough: writers need to interact with the public.  We are the storytellers of our generation, and the public is our audience and, quite often, the inspiration for our stories.


Not really, but I do come from farming stock, Iowa to be specific, corn farmers, hard-working people who believed in community and believed in the importance of local farms and buying locally.  I love the tradition and perhaps that is why I love the markets so much . . . but the other part is . . . I just like people.  Oh sure, they can drive me nuts from time to time, but generally speaking I do love them.  People are fascinating, and community is important, and I can’t imagine anywhere I would rather be on a summer afternoon than working our booth in Tumwater.

Who knows? Maybe a few of my customers will be characters in my next book.

I’ve rambled on long enough.  I think you get the point I’m making.  We writers do not live in a vacuum.  If you want your characters to come alive on the page, you will eventually have to meet an actual human being.

Get out there and mingle!


“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

28 Responses to “Learning in Real Life”

  1. Janine Huldie July 6, 2017 at 1:41 pm #

    Aw, couldn’t love this more if I tried as I, too, am a people person. So, I thrive on meeting and talking to new people myself. So, love your advice here and sounds like the farmer’s market you work at is the perfect place for this. Happy Thursday now, my friend!! 😉

    • Billybuc July 6, 2017 at 1:45 pm #

      Thank you, Janine, and Happy Thursday to you. Have a great time on vacation.

  2. susanzutautas July 6, 2017 at 1:59 pm #

    I love going to my local farmer’s market and I just recently learned that they are having a local writers event 3 times this summer. I really should get out there and promote myself, which is something I’m not really good at doing.
    After reading your post here I think I’ll make sure to get out there. Thanks Bill you’ve inspired me. Have a great day and weekend too.

    • Billybuc July 6, 2017 at 2:03 pm #

      Thank you Susan! I think it would be good for you . . . even if you don’t sell a thing, it is still exposure, and that is always helpful.

  3. froggy213 July 6, 2017 at 2:07 pm #

    You are absolutely right Bill. Some of my best works came from meeting and interacting with other people.

    You know, I grew up in Iowa too. Farmers near Humboldt (Harry Reasoner’s hometown) and lived in Ft Dodge. My Dad’s family farmed over near Belle Plaine and Victor.

    • Billybuc July 6, 2017 at 2:57 pm #

      interesting, Greg! I didn’t know you were an Iowa boy…my family lived in Charles City…close to Mason City I believe.

  4. Mike July 6, 2017 at 2:39 pm #

    Hi Bill – It sounds like you have a great time at the farmer’s market. Goat cheese and literature. What a natural. I as you may have guessed am not a people person. I did however make contact with a person I went to High School with recently. He and I had lunch the other day, and as you said, he will be the star of the next carriage driver story. (Early for him, but never-the-less.) You seem more relaxed here at artistrywithwords, or is it just me?

    • Billybuc July 6, 2017 at 2:58 pm #

      No, it’s not you, Mike. This is my relaxed atmosphere. I don’t take myself too seriously here on Artistry…nice call on your part.

  5. rollyachabotbooks July 6, 2017 at 2:39 pm #

    Hi Bill…
    Community is love, hope, dreams… you have it all Bro. So happy and proud of you for all you have become…now get out there and spend some of that money…

    Hugs from Canada

    • Billybuc July 6, 2017 at 2:59 pm #

      LOL…Rolly, believe me, we have a lot of things which will take care of that money, a new roof being at the top of the list. There’s always something, isn’t there?

      hugs from Oly

  6. Graham. July 6, 2017 at 3:35 pm #

    A great place your in there Bill. In more ways than one. Cheered me up!

    • Billybuc July 6, 2017 at 4:21 pm #

      I totally agree, Graham! And I deserve it, as do you! Thanks my friend.

  7. Ruchira Khanna July 6, 2017 at 11:38 pm #

    I had been following your FB status’s and this post was so appropriate with regards to mingling with complete strangers esp being a writer one learns so much from them.

    I am happy Bill that you are not only selling your produce there but also getting new characters for your book 🙂 A profit that is dual.

    • Billybuc July 7, 2017 at 1:58 pm #

      Thank you Ruchira! It’s nice of you to say so….peace be with you.

  8. suziehq July 7, 2017 at 3:53 am #

    So delighted you are enjoying the market scene, I miss being at two markets every weekend. I loved the “craic” as we Irish call banter, fun, buzz . . . . All kinds of people all walks of life all at the market trying to earn some pennies. Hope to explore the local markets here as there are many. Each small village/town has them and all on different days. Keep smiling my friend hugs from Southern Italia!

    • Billybuc July 7, 2017 at 1:59 pm #

      Thank you Irish! I’ll be there are great markets over in Europe….I hope you enjoy them in Italy!

      Hugs from Olympia

  9. phoenix2327 July 7, 2017 at 11:03 am #

    I enjoy hearing your ramble, Bill. There’s always a nugget or two of wisdom in there. Have a lovely weekend, my friend. BTW, goat cheese is one of my favourites.

    • Billybuc July 7, 2017 at 2:00 pm #

      Oh, Zulma, our son’s goat cheese is to die for…no goaty taste at all….keep those males away from the process. 🙂 Have a great weekend and thank you.

  10. Andrea Stephenson July 9, 2017 at 11:07 pm #

    Yes, although I’d often like to give up work and spend my time writing in wondrous isolation, I know that a life like that would be empty of much of the inspiration I get from being in the world.

    • Billybuc July 10, 2017 at 1:46 pm #

      I’m with you all the way, Andrea! I often wish I could go hide, just me and my laptop….but what a lonely existence that would be.

      • MartieCoetser July 11, 2017 at 3:29 pm #

        I believe it is essential for writers to mingle with the public. How else will they stay in touch with reality? A farmers market is surely one of the best places to be when one wants to mingle with quality people. Wishing you the best of luck at those markets, Billybuc. I know it’s not always moonshine and roses.

  11. Billybuc July 11, 2017 at 3:49 pm #

    Thank you Martie. I don’t believe there is a negative to meeting new people. I try to find the positive in every new situation.

  12. Sarah Potter Writes July 11, 2017 at 6:05 pm #

    By nature I tend towards the reclusive, although fight hard against it, usually getting in a real wind-up about having to go to a social event, but then quite often ending up enjoying myself. I think a farmers market seems a great way to interact with people in a spontaneous and informal way. As for “people watching”, that’s essential for a writer, unless you’re going to write about being a recluse in the wilderness, I guess!
    And your goat’s cheese — I would definitely buy some if I lived in your neighbourhood, as I’m intolerant of cow’s milk (and soy products), so have goat dairy products instead. In fact my evening meal just now was homemade flan with mature goat’s cheddar and chives. It was very yummy 🙂

    • Billybuc July 11, 2017 at 6:08 pm #

      Sarah, by nature I am reclusive, but I don’t fight hard against it at all. LOL I have finally come to realize,and accept, that this is just who I am. Those who love me accept it. I simply cannot handle social situations for longer than fifteen minutes…maybe ten. 🙂 And the flan sounds wonderful!

  13. Amanda Weyrauch July 12, 2017 at 10:00 pm #

    Wonderful Bill! The market is the highlight of my work week and getting to chat with fine folks like yourself is the icing to top it all. Cheers! 🙂

    • Billybuc July 13, 2017 at 1:53 am #

      Amanda, is that you? LOL I didn’t even connect the name….well you are a pure pleasure every Wednesday and I appreciate you.

  14. Karen Szklany Gault July 13, 2017 at 4:04 pm #

    So true, Bill! Reaching out and embracing community is the lifesource of any artist, including writers! Community helps us weather the let-downs and helps us celebrate our victories. Priceless!

    • Billybuc July 13, 2017 at 8:29 pm #

      All very true, Karen! Thanks for sharing that; it is a very good reminder.

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