Are stories really everywhere?

“Imperfection is beauty, madness is genius and it’s better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring.”
Marilyn Monroe

As a wannabe writer I’m always on the hunt for a good story. And I’ve found that observing the human race interacting, provides ample creative fuel for someone prowling for a new character or plot line. However, today, a stunning Sunday bought me to one of my favourite lunch hang outs. Not only does the place have fabulous food, but the dim lighting, dark chocolate furnishings and floor-to-ceiling book shelves brimming with aging books, forces my creative juices and curiosity into a tail spin. There I am sitting across from my mother sharing a chatty lunch, when a semi-herd of young women flood in. The oldest maybe forty-five, the youngest maybe twentyish. As I always do, immediately, one by one, I take a second to subtly glance at facial expressions to assess state-of-mind, check out clothing choices to assess personalities, and of course watch and listen to interactions. All this happens with quick glances. Yes, we writers are creepy people, even the wannabes, but we do this as part of our craft. At least this is how I justify my observations and ponderings. And usually, if someone strikes me as interesting, a personal history hatches and I start to track nuances and traits. Anything useful gets logged in my writing journal, and these little bits and pieces come out later on in a new story or short film or some other unexpected place. Real lives become my art.

Today as the semi-herd of women flooded in, I was struck by something confounding. There seemed to be no story here! None of these women stood out as being subject matter. The dress code seemed to be smart casual, but non-eventful. No individuals here. I’m not suggesting for a second that I’m assessing price tags. In fact, something completely different. The way we dress is the first way we show our personality to those around us. There were no favourite pairs of earrings snazzing up lobes, no colourful neck scarves, no beaded bracelets, and a lot of pastel and earth tones. I’m not a pastel or earth tone hater, I promise. Please don’t misunderstand me. I myself wore a mushroom/beige jumper today.

It’s just that, usually in every group there’s at least one group hippy; the out going type that dresses like a chameleon swapped outfits with them, and they are loud and boisterous, but greatly loved. Perhaps, also there’s an emo-type with black and pink hair who is actually a delight to be around. Or the shy type who gets lots of hugs and is clearly adored by a group. But this group of women, all of them, confounded my expectations.

At first, these pastel-clad, women gave me no story. I couldn’t even suss out what was it that bought these chics together. Not a mother’s group. Not a book club. Not a work get together. I had nothing, and this of course made my curiosity fire even more. Their slow and quiet conversation gave me only that, maybe these women were not overly familiar with each other.

I was about to conclude that perhaps these women might just be low-key, sweethearts and that digging for a story here was not worth my eavesdropping. BUT…it’s not within my nature to give up. I just had to dig deeper.

This is where my observations stopped and my creativity kicked in. Suddenly their stories were my stories to write. Why were they here? Who are they? What makes them tick? If I wanted to, I could fill in the blanks however I pleased. Art could imitate life, or life could imitate my art! If I wanted to, I could rewrite the lives of these women. What power!

So perhaps there are stories everywhere, perhaps they’re just not always as obvious as we’d like. Digging is sometimes required.

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