Have you ever walked into a bar, ordered a beer, and some stranger sits next to you? If you’ve walked into a bar, then the answer is most likely, “Yes.”
But, was that stranger allergic to his own sweat?
Have you ever gone to a convention and met someone who loved bunnies? So much so that he lifted his shirt and screamed to the crowd, “I love bunnies!”
I don’t know what happened. Something clicked.
I started writing and all the fascinating people came out of the woodwork.
Were Those Characters Always There?
Maybe. Maybe writing brought awareness of those people. I consider myself an introverted extrovert. I love people, but I hate them at the same time.
I don’t prefer to sit in my house. Depression and anxiety force the habit. I sit in my house because it’s my safe zone.
Did you know there are people outside?
It’s a scary thought. Who wants to meet all those people? Well, apparently I do. I love it.
Something about writing has attracted people into my world. In less than three weeks, I’ve met some of the most fascinating people in very different locations.
It reminds me of a saying I once read.
“There are seven stories in the world,
but there are seven billion characters.”
I wish I could remember where I read it and give the proper attribute. As with most writers, my shelves are filled with books and fascinating quotes. This one always stuck out.
Every story is different. Whether it follows the hero’s journey or overcomes a monster, you can write the same type of story over and over. You just need new characters.
Long ago, I began an idea journal. Several moleskines sit on my shelves filled with ideas. They are popping at the seams, screaming to be released onto a page. I never have writer’s block.
Those idea journals aren’t filled with only story concepts. They are filled with the people I meet. The past few weeks, I’ve been writing about people left and right.
People are an inspiration. We need them.
It might feel scary to go out and meet someone new, but writers need those experiences. Take these two for example.
The Man Who Is Allergic to His Own Sweat
I know what you’re thinking, Allergic to sweat??
It threw my for a loop, too.
Recently, a friend and I decided to go to a whiskey bar. They had no whiskey… just brunch. We left, deciding to grab a six pack to drink while playing board games.
Through a series of random events, we found ourselves at a bar on a Sunday. It wasn’t what we planned.
The plan was whiskey and board games.
Yet, I found myself meeting someone absolutely fascinating. A man sat around the corner of the bar. His skin was dry, flaking onto the counter. You could tell he was uncomfortable, probably in some pain.
I don’t remember how we started talking, but we did. He was a programmer who moved from Idaho. At times his hands reached to the floor and ceiling as he expressed excitement or dismay. He explained how it’s hard to meet people. Pointing to his peeling white skin, he described his condition — an allergy to sweat.
I didn’t know it was a thing. His story was fascinating. In the end, I think he simply enjoyed being treated like another human being. We shook his hand — dry, flaky, like shaking hardened sand — and exchanged goodbyes. He picked up the bill and we went our separate ways.
I don’t know if I’ll ever meet him again, but he left an impression. His story was fascinating.
The Man Who Professes His Love for Bunnies
Who doesn’t love bunnies? But, do you get tattoos of bunnies?
Do you scream at the top of your lungs, “I love my bunnies!”?
I couldn’t make this up. I love meeting new people.
We recently met an individual who loves bunnies. He couldn’t stop talking about his love for bunnies. At times, he would scream it, lift his shirt, and show off a bunny tattoo on his chest.
Here’s the brilliant part, he didn’t think he was screaming. That was just his personality.
His voice would be almost silent or piercingly loud. There was no in between. It was silent when something brought him disinterest. When he was passionate, he was loud.
We would try to keep him calm, reminding him to filter his words and lower his voice. Everyone could hear him. At times it could be annoying, but I found him, his story, fascinating.
This random encounter was the first in three weeks that proved there are seven billion unique characters in the world. We were supposed to be at the convention, but I randomly picked my table. The idea was, I’ll be wherever I’m supposed to be.
And I was.
That convention was full of fascinating stories.
What’s the Point?
Don’t look for random encounters, but let them happen when they occur. Talk with those people. Ask them questions. Learn about them.
At the best, you make a new friend.
At the least, you’ve met one in billions of characters to give you inspiration for your own creative work.
Go home, write down your thoughts, emotions, and the experience. If you don’t, you’ll regret it in the future. The process of reading those words will take you right back to the experience, even years later, and give you more inspiration.
You’ll never run into writer’s block when you create journals bursting at the seams with characters and ideas you experience.
Will writes the action-packed urban fantasy series The Fae Awakening to fuel the army fighting his depression. The series follows Hunter as he teams up with Fae creatures — ogres, brownies, goblins, and more — to take down unicorns covered in fire, chase their monstrous friends, and stop dangerous enemies at all costs.