Where do you find your characters?

Last week we talked about showing up to the page and those people you might see on your way to work, or during the course of a day. Another thing I liked doing was going to some place and eavesdrop conversations. Some people have an inflated view of how important their stories are and talk loudly as if wanting others to hear, another group really doesn’t intend to be overheard. I find the latter far more interesting.

When blue tooth was wildly popular and seemed to be everywhere, I frequently visited a particular coffee shop with comfy chairs and sat next to a woman fairly regularly who always seemed to be mid-conversation. She had a gorgeous head of fluffy dark hair and I was never one to stare. I sat in the next chair over from her, plugged in my headphones and started writing.

What she didn’t know was that I didn’t always turn on my music. I thought she was a counselor of some kind, because she seemed to be advising, repeating questions and statements back to a person on the other end of the line. She sounded thoughtful and kind. Rarely emotional, never loud. She often looked as though she concentrated on every word the caller spoke, in order to glean some insight. She would pause, nod her head slowly and say, hmmm. Mhmmm. She seemed so caring, a great listener, very stoic.

After months, I finally introduced myself hoping to learn more about her coffee house phone counseling sessions and even then, I didn’t notice. She never had a phone, or a Bluetooth.

You bet a wrote a vignette about her. It was a great exercise to capture the essence of her. Not so much what she said, because I don’t remember the words of her one-sided conversations; mainly her demeanor, and that–if you counted her drink cups–the table next to her looked as though she’d camped out there most of the day.

So, What people do you remember from your summer vacation or travels? Where are you hanging out? Where do you find your inspiration? What interesting characters have you discovered?

Message me, I’d love to hear about your observations.

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