Have you ever experienced a situation, which didn’t let you go for some time after it happened?
About a month ago I was walking down a pedestrian street in Aalborg with my husband and somebody caught my attention. A handsome blond man with big blue eyes was walking along many other people in the opposite direction to us and was staring at me. He was probably one of those young students who have an extra job to earn some additional money with distributing various prospects on various products to the passers-by. He had a number of such leaflets in his hands but he forgot to distribute them. He was just staring at me.
I was confused and looked at my husband who didn’t notice the man. Michael smiled at me. “So, nothing wrong with my face or appearance, if Michael smiles,” I concluded.
I sought in my memory if I knew the man. I couldn’t find any hint or any face that would remind me of him.
He long passed by while I was still searching in my head. He also didn’t try to talk to me. So, who knows why he stared at me for that short time. Maybe I reminded him of someone. I will never know.
But my thoughts were coming back again and again to this man and his look at me. This started worrying me. Why was I thinking of this man? My relationship to my husband is as harmonic as one could wish for. We have our ups and downs, but we take care of each other and are honest with each other. Being best friends and lovers at the same time helps a lot.
But, this man. Why was I thinking of him again and again? And then it hit me: “He is one of the main characters for one of my future novels!” It will be actually a sequel and I have a rough story for each of the books as well as the protagonist, a young woman in her twenties-thirties. But the love of her life was a bit diffuse. Until that moment. I always thought that he would be dark eyed and dark haired like my husband and also my childhood ideas for the most handsome man (although I did fall in love with or had a crush on men of very varying appearances in between: blond, bald, blond and bald, bald and dark, dark and not bald, grey and red haired, etc.). But I was wrong, her love is blond and has big blue eyes. And she will meet him when he will be handing out leaflets on the street and forget to hand them out because he would be simply swept by her sight.
As soon as I had this idea, the man stopped “hunting” me in my thoughts. And at this moment I realized something. Many people do stare at me and others time to time. But we don’t notice everyone staring at us. Not every awkward or funny situation catches our attention. For a writer, the situations or people catching our attention and not leaving are most probably the “writing material” and already inhabit our writing world, even if we don’t realize it at first.
Conclusion: I am a writer, so my mind is on a permanent hunt for characters, settings and scenes.
And this was true before I became aware of this and even before I started writing regularly a year and a half ago.
As soon as I realized this I relaxed a lot and enjoyed my attention being caught by various people and situations. I have walked by another young and handsome man in a Santa Claus costume, in the middle of August. I couldn’t stop smiling at the whole situation, seeing him walking down the street alone in his red hat and jacket, without a beard. He grinned back and said hello. I answered.
This was after my discovery of the permanent hunt, so I immediately started considering if his appearance would be closer to the love of my protagonist. The Santa Claus was also blond and blue-eyed, but he was much taller and his eyes were not as big as of the “leaflet” man. And the answer came: “No, the Santa Claus will be a minor character, but he will influence the way my protagonist and her love interact with each other and finally come together.” The scenes started to evolve. I hurried with a happy pace home and wrote down these ideas.
I guess, this is how it has always been. Stories and situations hunt us and catch our attention and then we are eager to tell them. Centuries ago story-tellers set on stones and benches and told the stories to anyone who would listen. Today, in the hurried world, these stories are rather recorded than told. But the process is still the same. It is just that sometimes we take these situations too personally and think that we did something wrong. But all it is about, is that there is a constant hunt: we hunt the stories that bring our creativity and us further and stories hunt us to be brought to life.
Enjoy the hunt, everyone! You might be living an exciting story right now! Actually, I am sure you are. Just look around.
Pictures: Five brilliant settings, all at the same place: Tivoli in Copenhagen. So many ideas are whirling in my head. 🙂