Monday, June 4, 2012

A Story Behind Every Face

Writers are frequently asked where they get their ideas for stories or poems and the answers seem endless. Sources range from dreams, to news stories, to the ephemeral muse, to strange voices in the night. I never know the original source of my story ideas but I don't go looking for them, they seem to seek me out instead. They find me, grab me, reside in me, until I finally agree to write the story. I have notebooks filled with ideas for stories, poems, essays and art pages and if I had 24 hours a day, every day I'd never have enough time to write them all. Ideas are everywhere, at least for me.

There are stories behind every face I see. Faces of family and friends. Faces of strangers in coffee shops and colleagues at work. No one is storyless. As the stories around me reveal themselves I see that this world is filled with stories. You never know what dramas--triumphs and defeats, joys and sorrows-- live behind the faces you see each day. Sometimes the stories come out of hiding and nudge me to pen and paper to write them down. Sometimes they need to be coaxed out of the darkness where they can be dressed up and sent out to teach, entertain, support or enlighten.

I've taken to scouring crowds looking for people who appear to have a story. If someone I know has a story I will investigate, get to the heart of it and turn it into fiction. If it's a stranger then I create a character and make up a story, because somewhere, someplace there is someone who owns that story. It's a wild ride and I hang onto my pen for dear life, coasting across the page marking tracks that will hopefully find their way to readers.