Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Prospecting Perspectives

The moment comes and only I know it. It's become so predictable now, after all these years, that it has become trite. Perhaps after all these years, I too, have become trite. The story goes like this: I am somewhere, doing something, add gin. After a few gins and especially after the night wears on, I will say yes to just about everything. This is partly because of my personality and partly because I have a genuine interest in what is happening, and what will happen.

I'll talk to just about everyone too. I have not been hurt by a conversation with a stranger. It's has always been good, talking with strangers, because I will use situations and conversations in my writing. I cannot directly report a conversation tit for tat, but I will almost always use several conversations I've had to craft a piece of dialog.

I ask a lot of questions too.

About a year ago I went to one of the few bars in my town. In many ways it makes me sad that there aren't real drinking establishments here. There are distillery tasting rooms, restaurants, sports bars and mirco breweries. It's sad to me that there aren't just plain old neighborhood pubs here. But at the time of this story, we were in a sports bar which is the closest thing to a corner pub my town has.

I noticed the girl first. We made I contact, and I smiled. Why wouldn't I? I was sitting with three of my friends. The next thing I know the girl's hands were on my thigh and her fella was asking me if I knew Sugarhouse. Now, I thought he was talking about a neighborhood in Salt Lake City. “Yeah, I know Sugarhouse,” I said. Dangerous words. He and I were talking about different things. I was talking about a cool neighborhood and he was talking about a swingers club. I ask a lot of questions, have I mentioned that? I learned a lot from him, and fortunately, it all stayed as a barroom conversation; I'm weird, but I'm no swinger. My friends clown me to this day that I was getting picked up by a swinging couple. I just made eye contact, smiled and had a conversation.

I think there are a great many ways to become a writer. I think a writer should read and be a reader first. I think pursuing education is paramount. Having a daily practice, dead lines and goals are all good things to employ as a writer. For me, I began as a prospector.

Conversations, experiences, views from unusual places and then being able to transpose these things onto the page is skill worth acquiring. I think the more diverse the experiences are, the many and varied conversations with strangers are, the better the writing will be. And I also think it's imperative to tone down many of these things because, yes, the truth is stranger than fiction.

Prospecting perspectives means to go out in the world and learn something, hear something, feel something or do something. It means to have conversations that aren't always easy. It means to ask a lot of questions. It doesn't seem to happen like it did. I mean, we're all busy looking at screens now. Real conversations are more difficult now.

Because of our insular world, our cellular existence, it is more important now than ever to go out and prospect perspectives. Go out and be someone different. Leave the phone at home. Leave your inhibitions, your fears. Go out and do something. You can write about it tomorrow. You'll be able to write about it for years. Life is, and it should be, the wellspring of fiction.

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