Posted On April 10, 2017 by Print This Post

Inspiration by Handsome Hansel

As a writer, inspiration can hit you at almost anytime, anywhere. Handsome Hansel shares his latest inspiring moment.

Inspirations to write can come from the most unlikely places sometimes.

I was sans car for a day and instead of grabbing a rental, decided to take the bus to work that day. It’s not something I hadn’t done before but it had been a long while.

The usual suspects were still there, students, miscreants, a couple elderlies with their shopping wagons parked in front of them. I grabbed a seat in the middle and pressed my earbuds deeper into my ears in an effort to drown out the mishmash of competing dialogues.

Two stops later I felt someone sit next to me. I had escaped into my favorite playlist and hadn’t even seen her come towards my seat. She was a twenty-something middle-eastern lady wearing a hajib and carrying a book. Now I have no prejudices but it was obvious many others on the bus did. She immediately opened her book and began to not only read but occasionally underline certain words and phrases.

It took me a few minutes but I finally caught a glimpse of the cover of the book. It was entitled, “Lean In” by Sheryl Sandberg. I garnered it was a self-help book of sorts yet the way she was dissecting it didn’t seem to me in line with the way I’m used to. So…me being me…I struck up a conversation with her. Much to the horror of fellow passengers.

At first she seemed a bit taken aback but over the course of our trip together she became more comfortable and even opened up a bit. Turns out she had only been in our country for a few months. I assumed she was a student but was wrong. She came because she had a friend who came to America a little over a year ago and encouraged her to come too. She didn’t know any of the language but turned to television and books to learn.

I asked if I could see what she was reading and was right that it was a self-help book. With a subtitle of “Women, Work, And The Will To Lead.” You go girl! was my first thought. Seems a new American friend of hers had given it to her to read. I casually flipped through the book and noticed a number of two, three, and four syllable words underlined. When I asked about them she said she looks them up their equivalent in her native language to learn what they mean then re-reads the sentence in the book again to understand how to use it.

The more she spoke about her process the more proud and animated she became. I’ll admit, I was moved. She went on to tell me she had read over 30 books since coming to the States. I asked her if they were all of the self-help type and she shook her head. Turns out she reads pretty much anything she can get her hands on. She doesn’t discriminate. As long as she learns from it and feels fulfilled at the end.

Her stop was next. Right in front of the library. By then I wasn’t surprised. We said our goodbyes and I was left with the need to write. I had never thought of it before…someone using a book to learn a language. To decipher our writing in such a profound way that elevates them.

There will always be a part of me that will be inspired by my conversation that day. It will certainly make me take extra care with what I write as well.




Ok, tell us where your last moment of inspiration hit! In the shower? Driving on the freeway?


Bio: Like most of us, I’ve been around the block a time or two (or three) in the relationship world. I like to think of myself as having a pretty thick skin, however, that skin doesn’t surround the heart.

I’ve been in love; I’ve been in lust. I’ve been hurt and got up to do it all again, each time having learned more of myself as well as “wants” and “don’t wants” for my next relationship. Amazingly enough, I never gave up on that one true love wrapped in Romance. You can visit me here, at

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3 Responses to “Inspiration by Handsome Hansel”

  1. What a wonderful post! I ride the bus pretty often and I’m always curious (okay – nosy!) when I see people reading books on the bus. If I recognize the book or the author’s name, I might strike up a conversation – depending how focused the person is on the story.

    My daughter reads on the bus a lot. Years ago, I used to commute to work by train. I always brought a book or two to keep me company, but more than once I totally missed my stop because I was engrossed in the book. For that reason, I’m cautious about opening my book when I’m en route.

    I always have a book in my bag, but after reading this post I will approach each book in a new way. I’ve read Agatha Christie books in French – I know them so well it did help with language skills – but for some reason I’d never thought of English language books as a way to learn OUR language. It makes sense, and it’s a method we use with children all the time.

    I’m not surprised this interaction inspired you to write. Thanks so much for sharing it with us!

    Posted by Becke Martin Davis | April 10, 2017, 9:51 am
  2. Evening HH…

    We don’t have a bus system here, but I almost always strike up a conversation with someone reading a book. Can’t help myself. =) If it’s a book I’ve read, we have a common talking point, if it’s one I want to read, then maybe I’ve just made a new friend. =)

    Reading books can be a great conversation starter!


    Posted by Carrie Peters | April 10, 2017, 7:35 pm


  1. […] After this week’s challenge was written, I came across a post I had to include. Inspiration by Handsome Hansel […]

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