Glowing Faces

You’re in a restaurant. It’s a nice place, good food, consistent, efficient, and the waitpersons really know how to do their jobs without scribbling their names on your place mat.

After getting water, some nibblers, and placing drink orders, you take a moment to glance around and absorb your surroundings. Because you’re interested in people. You like watching them. This is especially true if you’re a writer, because you know that ideas for tidbits to include in your novels are all around you. The commandment: Just be observant and thou shalt be rewarded with something really good.

But way before your margarita arrives, you have given up. There’s nothing even remotely interesting out there. You might as well have stayed home and eaten canned soup in front of your TV staring at a totally obnoxious news program than look around for something to inspire the writer in you.

Why is that, exactly? Because there’s not enough human interaction and that’s what makes it interesting. It’s what you seek to insert some of real life into your fiction to give it life of its own. Where did it go?

The smart phone kidnapped it.

Take a moment to conduct a visual survey the next time you’re out and about. Wherever you look, a percentage of the people are not much more than physical shells that look like people. The parts that count are elsewhere. In my example of the restaurant, it’s even easier to tell. Look at the faces. They glow in the subdued light, illuminated by the addictive screen that is their window to the rest of the world.

If we take a step back for an objective view, I think all of us would probably agree that millions of consumers believe they cannot exist on the planet without being wired into that magic place known as online. Not only that, the portability and convenience of our smart devices lure us into the notion that we should be connected 24/7/365. Anything less is living in the dark ages. We crave all those apps and instant access to 10,000 songs.

I believe there’s a downside we would do well to consider. We have become indoctrinated into a world in which few individuals are satisfied with where they are now. It’s simply not enough. And it’s so easy to leave. Pull out that little glowing window to the universe and off we go. Why talk to a dinner partner when we can do something so much more….what? Interesting? Stimulating?

But for whatever reason, it really doesn’t matter where we go, but where we left from. The important dynamic is escape. It relieves us of having to engage.

So, for the bottom line to this post, if you’re a writer and want to gather good material for your novel from the real world around you, visit the zoo. =:-)

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