A Sense for Writing

Hi there! How have the days been treating you? I’ve been feeling a little reflective lately (more so than usual), thinking about life and other important stuff. Having my days revolve around writing means that I spend a lot of time caught up in my own thoughts – and that’s OK, but it has made me think about the influence of externalities in my world. While I may not always have a ready supply of common sense (the privilege of the dreamer), and I’m pretty sure I’m devoid of any extrasensory perception (although I do always know when good coffee is close by), I get along pretty well with most other senses – in particular, sight and sound.

Watching and listening to the world is the very stuff of story-making … the imagination feeds on a caught snippet of conversation, an observed interaction between strangers, or on hearing a certain turn of phrase. Sometimes these little moments weave their way into a story or form part of an idea that  is  (hopefully) original, yet still connected to reality.


I’m starting to think that I’ve been unintentionally training as an observer all my life. For whatever reason, and it’s something that I’ve never been able to explain, I seem well-equipped to blend in and become practically invisible – perhaps I’m like Marcus Brody? (of Indiana Jones fame). I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve been stood on in elevators, walked into, or gone completely unnoticed because I haven’t been seen. Now this is not a ‘woe is me’ missive, but I won’t lie and tell you that it isn’t more than a little frustrating and de-moralising to have this happen time and time again. In fact, I’ve even had someone tell me that I ‘melt into the background’ … ouch!


After having my personal space invaded for about the millionth time this week, I’ve decided to look upon this camouflage of invisibility as a blessing rather than a hindrance. It does have its advantages. At least it gives me the opportunity to see and hear things that may otherwise go unnoticed, adding a different perspective to my writing … just call me Mrs Cellophane. 😉


  1. Felicity

    Dear Mrs Cellophane,
    My what big ears you have!
    My what big eyes you have!
    My what a big heart you have!
    My what an excellent writing style you have!

    Happy day Lovely, it’s we ‘cellophanes’ of the world that help others to see what they usually miss without us.

    1. tracey (Post author)

      Hi Felicity – You are so sweet, thanks for your lovely words … you brought a smile to my face and gave me a bit of a giggle too. You are very right about the ‘cellophanes’ of the world, and it’s nice to know there are so many of us out there. xx

  2. woolf

    it was who derek jarman who once said, ‘nothing is original’ (and a lot more, i’m sure you can google it down somehow). i find that to be quite a comfort.
    and it is michael cunningham, who is listening to music (ALL kinds of music, and a lot of good pop) before he starts off on the paper, in the mornings. he does handle a certain ritual.

    i wonder if one needs a sense of calmness to do so, because frankly? it does not work for me. i do it for a few days on end, and believe it or not, thén i AM bored! i need change, and thus i do something else, and writing trails off, like it never existed… please, don’t feel in any way discouraged by this. this is just me!!!.
    i know what you’re saying though.

    just a few moments go, i was thinking if dickens, and how his winning techniques indeed concepted in observing, which isn’t surprizing, if you read his prose.
    on being invisible… : probable needed introspective reflection time, more like.
    no worries. you’ll be very much noticed by whom wants to see.

    these days i’m into drawing, actually. goes to show how topsy turvy the world can be. and it does get crazier with age… ha ha ha…
    ps – your parcel is sent off today!

    1. tracey (Post author)

      Hi Woolf – I think my writing days have a really loose sense of structure about them, but I would probably stop short of saying I’ve found any kind of ritual to stick to. I feel the best I can do is show up and see what happens – some days are good and others not so good. Something I do have to balance better are my ‘internal’ and ‘external’ worlds, I find they’re a tricky thing to keep in equilibrium when there are words to write.

      I am not discouraged by your words at all, in fact you provide much comfort and a reminder that we each find our own little way.

      PS. I love that your drawing is currently taking centre stage, and I’m so excited to hear that my parcel is on its way! 🙂

  3. Accidentalwriter

    I generally enjoy wearing the ‘invisibility cloak’. I don’t know about you, however, I’m the sort of person who says sorry when someone bumps into me. If we were to choose between being ‘out there’ and perhaps losing a degree of perceptiveness/insightfulness – and being cellophane-like and absorbing most of what goes on around us – which would we choose? Sometimes our personalities are predisposed to a cellophane existence and perhaps we need to focus on the trade-offs which come with this? I would prefer not to miss the opportunity to observe the need of another because I was being boorish and self-absorbed. Maybe we need to work towards being a bright crimson type of cellophane and reap the benefits of not being so translucent and yet still tuned into what is going on around us. I have to agree that the toes definitely do take a pounding at times when the opacity is at its most extreme. Best wishes.

    1. tracey (Post author)

      Hi Accidentalwriter – Yes, that invisibility cloak has good and bad features … I suppose it depends on how I’m feeling on any given day. I’m like you when someone bumps into me or gets in my way, I’m the one that apologises.

      I agree with you about choosing to be ‘out there’ or remaining ‘cellophane-like’ (if we had the choice), I would stick with being an observer too … the world is a fascinating place, and so many people must miss out on the little things that we see. What a shame.

      Haha, yes … those trodden toes can come off a little worse for wear sometimes. Thanks for your kind words.

  4. Kylie

    You, my dear, do not blend into the background. Anyone who thinks this is not worthy of seeing you. You stand out to me! Maybe you are only visible to those lucky ones who are able to see what a lovely person you are! 😉

    1. tracey (Post author)

      Hi Kylie – Nawwww, you are SO sweet (thank you for saying that). I’m sending a big batch of virtual hugs your way. xx

  5. Lucent Imagery

    Hello Mrs Cellophane,
    I second Kylie’s sentiments. You are a beautiful, talented person. I think there is something sacred and precious in having hidden secrets, stories, talents or sides of you that the world can’t see on first glance. It means that only those who genuinely care and want to get to know you will see those things. I adore that you are thinking “about the influence of externalities in my world”. To me, that is the words of someone who questions if they are being their own person despite those influences. And it is that unique person that makes you so adorable. And you can’t be that invisible, because how else did Mr Cellophane see you, talk to you and fall in love with you? To some you are shining bright as Mrs Sunshine!
    Disclaimer: Of course, as a legally blind person I can’t be held responsible if I step on someone! 🙂

    1. tracey (Post author)

      Hi Lucent Imagery – How sweet are you? (very) … thanks so much for your lovely words. Sometimes those external pressures can push a little hard, but it is an interesting process to think about how they help to shape who we are. Well I’m happy to be a Mrs Sunshine to some, than a Mrs Cellophane to everyone. 🙂

      PS. You have a free ‘step on my toes’ pass my dear. xx

  6. sofia

    this made me think of myself, you know I work in a public place and most of the time I see the same people that come to the museum some of them act like it’s the first time they see me and even ask me if I’m new there (it’s been 6 years that I work there) and at first this made me think how invisible I was but after some thinking I changed my point of view: I think these people aren’t really living in the present moment and the problem is their own problem not mine. I think they are always thinking about their past or future and not really paying attention to what’s in front of them and I think that’s a pity !

    1. Lucent Imagery

      Yes I thought that too Sofia. It’s more of a reflection on others rather than yourself. Hooray for anyone trying to live in the present moment and notice the little things!

    2. tracey (Post author)

      Hi Sofia – It’s amazing how some people are not aware of their surroundings or the people they walk by. I’ve had that happen to me too, where I’ve gone to a work meeting and someone I’ve met many times before re-introduces themselves to me … I find that very odd.

      I like the way you look at things – that those people are not living in the present moment, and yes it is a shame for them. At least there are plenty of people like us who do notice the little and the big things. xx

  7. Gabrielle Bryden

    I find it hard to believe that you would ever be invisible to other people Tracey 😉 but it certainly has advantages if one wants to observe carefully. When I looked at that first photo, I couldn’t work out what the hell it was – haha – maybe a cat with a bad surgery outcome!

    1. tracey (Post author)

      Hi Gabrielle – Oh you are too kind … believe me I wear my invisibility well! … haha, those photos are of one of my little furry friends with lots of hand stitching. I don’t think my cat would let me near him with needle and thread. 😉

  8. Andrew


    Most my days revolve around writing as well. I love pushing myself to improve my english.

    Observing is wunderbar! You can draw a deeper sense of your surroundings, gain insight that others probably overlook, plus you perhaps often feel more connection to a place, time and moment.

    I don’t agree with your Mrs Cellophane comment. Others probably being selfish and not aware of their surroundings and others, instead caught up in their worlds, but lacking manners.

    All the best


    1. tracey (Post author)

      Hi Andrew – It’s wonderful to have the opportunity to keep good company with the written word … I agree with you on the power of observation, it’s amazing the things you see and hear that would otherwise be missed.

      You’re very kind to dismiss me as a Mrs Cellophane … I will happily agree that perhaps the fault is with others and not with me. 🙂

  9. ejorpin

    Hello there fellow ‘invisible’ observer! Here’s the thing – I’ve always been a watcher, a noticer of little things, and I think it’s one of the things that brings me a lot of joy. I get to see those tiny snippets of a strangers life, little interactions, gorgeous bright bits of nature that others seem to miss. And seeing those things makes me happy, even when I’ve got a head full of worries. So I’m okay with blending in to the background, because I think in the end I get more out of each and every day!

    1. tracey (Post author)

      Hi Emily – That is very true about the joy that observing the little things can bring … I’m often surprise that not everyone sees the things that I notice, but I suppose we all ‘see’ different things. I need to focus more on all the positives of being an observer.

      I think I’d be 100% OK with blending in if people didn’t squish me or stand on me … things are a little easier now I’m not working in an office and having to brave the stomp of the elevator each day! 😉

  10. ejorpin

    Oh and ps. I’ve been doing a photography course, and it’s made me realise that part of my ability to take a good photo comes back to being an observer. You have to recognise the beauty in something (that might otherwise seem mundane or ‘unworthy’) to take the step of capturing it. Being an observer makes you a better story-maker, I am sure of it!

    1. tracey (Post author)

      Hi Emily – That’s awesome that you’ve had that realisation that an important part of your lovely photography are your highly attuned skills as an observer. Thanks so much for your kind words, and your inspiration. xx

  11. Monica

    i have learnt how to put on and take of this invisibility veil. i LIKE to blend in and go unnoticed a lot of the time. i love my privacy and i love being an observer. but i also like to be part of a social gathering occasionally.
    it IS a gift, and it’s possible to learn to do the opposite. but obviously something within you prefers this observer state. enjoy it!

    1. tracey (Post author)

      Hi Monica – It’s awesome that you can take your invisibility veil on and off, and don’t get me wrong most of the time I like going unnoticed too … but it’s the days that I’m having a bad day that people seem to choose not to see me and stand on my toes instead! 😉

      I need to learn how to take the veil off more effectively I think, or maybe just get better at weighing up the good against the bad.

  12. Selma

    It’s amazing that you should write about this, Tracey, because I also feel like I merge into the background and that I possibly might have put on a cloak of invisibility without knowing it. I have been an observer/onlooker since childhood so maybe this quiet merging comes with the territory. I often think I would have made a good private eye. Haha.

    1. tracey (Post author)

      Hi Selma – Ah, a fellow background merger … hello! 🙂
      I do think that I’ve worn that invisibility cloak for a while, and more often than not probably welcome the protection that it brings … how else could I watch the world go by?

      I think you’d make a good private eye too Selma … I’d probably get distracted by coffee. Ha! 😉

  13. louise

    I like your description of ‘training as an observer’. A marvelous craft. As for being invisible, I too share this fate. Not sure why either. I mainly find it a problem when trying to walk down a busy street. xolj

    1. tracey (Post author)

      Hi Louise – Yes indeed, if only a world observer could become a paid profession. Ha! 😉

      It is odd to discover you’re quite invisible, and yes I share your pain at having to walk down busy streets … crowds are not the friend of the invisible who has to get somewhere. xx

  14. Sandrine

    You sound like you had an interesting week of noticing and being unoticed Tracey 🙂 The pace can be pretty fast for a lot of us at times, it takes more and more effects to notice, I think …So I like the way you present it, yes that might be handy at times :)But I am sure you are much worth noticing, what a great loss for some! 🙂

    1. tracey (Post author)

      Hi Sandrine – Indeed. So many of my weeks are spent going unnoticed and yet noticing lots of things myself … it’s makes for rather interesting times. 🙂

      You are so sweet, thanks for your kind words.

  15. Camila Faria

    I think you’re lucky to have this amazing invisibility veil. I believe you can put it on and take it off as you please, don’t you think? So many advantages….

    1. tracey (Post author)

      Hi Camila – It can be very handy indeed to be invisible and get lost amongst all the things that are going on around me. I just need to get better at ‘re-appearing’ again … haha! 😉

Comments are closed.