Inspired by Strangers

Psst. You see that guy across the coffee shop, the one with the hole in his sleeve? What about the lady in the supermarket checkout line buying a roll of duct tape and two steaks? Don’t forget the gentleman you pass on the way to work every morning– you know, the one pushing the powder blue bicycle?

These folks have stories. There’s a reason why the lady in the supermarket is buying that roll of duct tape. There’s a story behind the hole in the sleeve of the guy at the coffee shop. And why is the man on the street pushing that bike, but never riding it?


Inspiration is everywhere, in the present and past of every person we meet. We could ask what the duct tape is for. If she’s only using it to fix a busted dashboard, she’s likely to say so quickly and easily, and perhaps even give a funny anecdote as to how the dashboard became busted in the first place. If, however, she’s using the tape for something a little more odd, then she may stumble over her words or appear nervous. Or perhaps she’s concocted some strange story to tell anyone who asks, because she’s a paranoid type and has given thought to every level of her plan.

It never hurts to ask.

A million stories float by us on a daily basis, inspired by some random person with a random quirk. Tell these stories. Transform the holey-sleeved coffee shop patron into a superhero who snagged his sleeve on takeoff. It’s your brain, your imagination. Put it to use.

Find something extraordinary in the ordinary. Or give a perfectly logical explanation for an extraordinary detail.

Write what you know doesn’t have to apply to those things you know absolutely, but can be based on one small thing you see as real. The rest is conjecture.

(Image via Pinterest)

Live. Love. Write.


One thought on “Inspired by Strangers

  1. Reblogged this on The Writing Catalog and commented:
    I say don’t ask, but do file the details away, and when it comes time to use them in a story, just make something up.


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