Saturday, March 24, 2012

Who Are The People in Your Neighborhood...

"... the people that you meet each day?" (Sorry, couldn't help it. And if you grew up in the US and possibly some other countries and don't get the reference, I'm taking away your childhood card.)

"We're each living out our own epic movies, and everyone else around us is a supporting character." 

I've heard variations of this for years now, and can't help but love this description of life.  Usually, it then goes on to say something along the lines of how we have main cast surrounding us (the people who, in some way or another, interact with us on a regular basis), the guest characters, and the extras.  They color our world, giving depth and meaning, comedy and drama and (sometimes) horror to our "movie."

Take my apartment complex, for example. Until I get the heck out of this place, I'm constantly forced to interact with my neighbors... even if I don't want them in my film. They're the extras that color my night and morning. They give me stories to tell and bring out facets of my personality (usually high doses of tolerance and barely contained annoyance) that might not come out through the rest of my day.

There's the creepy woman across the complex who hits on guys who are old enough to be her son. The lady next door who will trap me into one hour conversations about her bathroom. The old woman who wanders aimlessly about the complex, talking to herself. The guy who thinks everyone hates him and constantly tells anyone who would listen. The "drug addict" who (apparently, according to nosy neighbor) has no furniture. Old guy across the hall who keeps jumping out in his boxers to ask me a question when I try to go to work in the morning (I soooo can't unsee that. Heaven, help me.)

The yentas who kept hoping to set me up with grumpy dog walking guy.

I usually try not to put people I know into stories, but these just might make it into a MS or two someday. I just have to find a way to capture all of that particular brand of crazy.

Good books, books that I love, have a diverse and well defined "cast," just like in real life. Underwear neighbor might be incredibly annoying to me, but he's a part of my story (for now.)  Whether I want them in my life or not. My consolation- they're perfect fodder for my own characters' supporting cast.

So... who are the people in your neighborhood? And do you use them as "inspiration"?


  1. What an awesome post! Character inspirations... So far bits of family and friends have been my inspirations. My family is, shall we say 'colorful' (read completely crazy and unhinged in some way), so there is lots of fodder there. My friends all have distinct and/or quirks that make them my friends. Never was one to hang with 'normal' folk. LOL As for neighbors, I don't talk to many. I do have an older couple that lives next door, Harry, and Mrs. Harry (have only seen her like twice in 5 years so I think she may be imaginary *wink*). Harry is a great guy. He's about 70something, retired Navy, and from Mobile, Alabama. And boy is he ever southern! Complete with all the 'good ole boy,''darned tootin,''gal dern,' and 'shoooot' phrases that come with the truly SOUTHERN. Harry has so many little southern quirks he may just end up in a MS one day!

    1. I think I'd LOVE Harry. I lived in Georgia for a year, but we were in such a yankee-fied area that I never did hear someone say "shoooot" :) Isn't family the absolute best inspiration? I never try to dump anyone directly into my MSs for fear of them impaling me on a stake, but I love liberally sprinkling in all of those wonderful quirks!