4×4 Sources of Writing Inspiration: Populated Places
Joanna has a new group writing project for her monthly theme of ‘inspiration’. Here are her rules:
- Share 4 lots of 4 things on the theme of writing and inspiration
- You don’t need to follow these headings: there are zillions of possibilities (4 blogs, 4 books, 4 authors, 4 people, 4 teachers, 4 pieces of music, 4 paintings and so on)
- But please stick to the format of 4 x 4 and the theme of writing and inspiration
- Post your contribution by 28th March (midnight, your time)
- Let me know you’ve written your piece, by linking to this post, leaving a comment on the post, or contacting me
So, always up for a challenge, I’ve decided to give it a go, although, perhaps predictably, I’ve decided to bend the rules slightly. Instead of giving you my 4×4 in one post, I’ve decided to space them out over a series of 4 posts. I’ve also decided that all my sources of writing inspiration will be related to place. As you may have noticed from the posts here at Lives Less Ordinary, I’m often inspired by the locations that I find myself, whether these are geographic (both populated and unpopulated), virtual or imaginary. In each of the 4 posts, I’m going to focus on a different type of place, and explore why I find them so inspiring, and why I think you might find them inspiring too.
So, today’s post is on ‘populated places’. People are fascinating creatures, are they not? Especially en masse. I don’t know about you, but I love to people watch. I like to imagine their conversations, their histories, their futures, their relationships. Here are 4 of the places for optimum people watching:
In A Bath Teashop
‘Let us not speak, for the love we bear one another –
Let us hold hands and look.’
She, such a very ordinary little woman;
He, such a thumping crook;
But both, for a moment, little lower than the angels
In the teashop’s ingle-nook.
by Sir John Betjeman
I find the arrivals gates at airports incredibly emotionally charged places; all that anticipation as folk stand around waiting for their much missed loved ones to negotiate their way through customs, and finally exit through the sliding doors, pushing their overloaded trolley, expectantly glancing around for a familiar face amongst the crowd. Stories abound in places like this. If you don’t find inspiration at a busy airport, you’re just not trying!
‘The doctor’s waiting room, which was very small, was almost full when the Turpins entered and Mrs Turpin, who was very large, made it look even smaller by her presence. She stood looming at the head of the magazine table set in the center of it, a living demonstration that the room was inadequate and ridiculous. Her little bright black eyes took in all the patients as she sized up the seating situation. There was one vacant chair and a place on a sofa occupied by a blond child in a dirty blue romper who should have been told to move and make room for the lady. He was slumped down in the seat, his arms idle at his sides and his eyes idle in his head; his nose ran unchecked.’
Flannery O’Connor – ‘Revelation’
Waiting rooms are great places to hone your skills for building up characters, and it can offer some much needed distraction to help the time pass faster while you wait!
Ok, those are my four populated places which provide me with inspiration – What are yours? Do you find you’re itching to pick up your notebook and pen while waiting in the queue at the supermarket? Or do you find a crowded beach affords you with plenty of material to get started on your next writing venture? Oh, and make sure you come back tomorrow, when I’ll be focusing on unpopulated places!