Osama bin Laden's death has resulted in a strange mix of news in my email inbox and status updates on facebook page today: claims of moral victory, condemnation of the war, talks of retribution, mourning over the millions of lives lost and millions more affected, and great deals on mother's day gifts.
Since this is a not a forum to discuss political and moral issues, not directly, anyway, I thought I'd focus on how such surreal juxtapositions of big news and life-as-usual can be applied to writing.
Perhaps, in writing about a funeral, a writer may focus on the highly-polished shoes worn by the widower. Did he, in the midst of making arrangements for the funeral, go out to buy new shoes? Or did he polish them himself, and what might have gone through his mind when he did that? Or maybe someone else polished them for him, someone who quietly made themselves helpful.
Or perhaps in a bridal shower, someone left the TV on to a program showcasing the husbands of Elizabeth Taylor.
Or perhaps rescuers, while looking through a tornado-ravished town, trigger a Tickled-Me-Elmo toy.
Have you read passages that include incongruous details? What about in your own writing: do you use this technique? Maybe some of you would dash off a short vignette in the comments section. Please do.