What do I do for fun? I write.
It took me several months before I would admit that to people when they asked what my hobby was. I don’t know why I was so shy about my favorite past-time. (What will they think if I admit I like to write? Have they heard of this odd hobby? Will I have to explain what a book is so they don’t think I’m a freak? ) Anyway, I finally started admitting to people I liked to write and apparently this whole putting words on paper thing is kind of popular. [Note to self: Do the careers of Mark Twain, C.S. Lewis, and Robert Louis Stevenson not ring a bell?]
Oftentimes, curious people ask me how I get ideas for my stories. Just a week or so ago, I pinpointed one thing that inspires me. The answer: human connections. Just like the post title mentions, I get my best ideas from the people around me.
I will share one such interaction that provided the catapult to a story that I wrote several years ago. I was walking through a Meijer supermarket when I passed a man in Army fatigues pushing his daughter in a shopping cart. Subconsciously my mind just started wondering about the life of that father and daughter. Was he there with his wife or was his wife at home and he took their kid out for a break? Was he a widower with a daughter that he had to take care of? Or, had he robbed an Army Surplus store, found refuge in Meijer, and then started pushing a random cart around to look legitimate? (Trust me, it does not take long for my imagination to find the off-ramp to crazy town.) Within minutes I had the outline of a story about a widowed military father with twins. In this case the human connection was the father-child one. Though I didn’t actually see them interact, their very presence together ignited the creative spark.
Naturally, there are millions of human connections to be explored and exploited. I guess I won’t run out of material anytime soon.