Thursday, July 8, 2010

Ah, the People You'll Meet (Part II of III)

Sometimes a chance encounter will spark an idea for a character or two. You could be standing in the lunch line in the cafeteria or at the grocery store. You  could be walking around the Mall or the track. Each person brings his or her own story and perhaps you might hear a little bit of it.

Yesterday, I met a gentleman at the used bookstore. His brother ran the store, and he was visiting from Daytona Beach, Florida. As I put the kids in the van, he told me that he and his companion had enjoyed their stay in Charlotte over the 4th of July weekend. He asked me where I was from (and I get that question a lot). My parents are from the Philippines, but I was born in England, married to a Southerner and mum to 3 kids. When I mentioned the Philippines, he immediately told me the story of his cousin, who married a mail-order bride from the Philippines in the 40's after World War II. He introduced me to his companion, who was originally from Alaska.

She seemed to be a nice lady, with the weathered brown skin of an Aleutian Eskimo and pretty dark eyes. She complimented me on how my son and baby daughter were so beautiful. She told me that she and her companion had been together for 28 years (not married, said the man, just together) and that they were on their way back to Daytona Beach. We didn't talk long in the hot sun, but the couple made a definite impression on me. I had all kinds of questions I didn't have the time to ask: What was he doing in Alaska? How did the two meet?  What was it about him, that she would leave Alaska for Florida? Did they have any children or grandchildren? Were they retired in Florida? What were the stories of their youth?

The spark for a story. Look around at the people around you, ask questions and listen to their answers. Or answer those questions yourself, make up a background or personal history. Pretend that two of them met in a certain setting and have them interact. What happens?

The places you go, the people you meet...

All writing and art copyright A. Dameron 2000-2010

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