I need Weirder friends

I call it research, but unemployment is giving me the luxury of curling up with a good book more often. I am beginning to notice something. I need to get weirder friends.

Good writers have imagination and a keen sense of observation. Writers gain a wealth of material to expand upon and fictionalize from every person they encounter. I had a roommate in college who only wore caftans; kept pet turtles in our room, and could not decide if she wanted to be a fashion designer or a mortician. Now there is someone I should have kept up with. A writer is able to make good use of co-workers who, after taking an acting class, spent time in the newsroom getting us to “believe” as they became elephants. This should have put a damper on post newscast drinking, but it seemed to have the opposite effect. There was the guy trying to make his fortune in side line businesses like owning a share of a racehorse, buying stock in doughnuts, and manning a baked potato truck. He was best known for having once played on bumper cars with Elvis. This is good stuff for a writer. Can’t you see the story about an Elvis impersonator making a living traveling to festivals with his baked potato business and a pet horse named Colonel? Just imagine the time in off season he hooks up with a small circus in Opelika. There his horse falls in love with an elephant and refuses to leave. Turns out the clowns love potatoes and the midway needs an Elvis to liven things ups. Elvis joins the circus and eventually teaches the horse and elephant to dance a duet to Love Me Tender.

I also need to get out more. You may have the impression, knowing I have worked in television, that I have been there, done that. Well yes and no. Mine has been a voyeuristic journey via a television screen. Even at the scene of an event, as the director, I was in a truck without windows watching it on TV. During the Iran hostage crisis there were some scary soldiers of fortune in north Georgia offering their services to our government to rescue the hostages. Now the reporter covering that story has some really good stuff for future memoirs while I was back at the station making next week’s pot roast on sale at Winn Dixie look appetizing.

Hallelujah I am back in the south where colorful characters thrive like chiggers in August. Good writers can find the humor, pathos, or irony in life around them. They have a gift for language anyone can learn from and aspire to. But most of all they are living life out there in the world instead of observing it on a TV screen. I hope my new career is more about real people than the insular world of the TV screen.

is | Topic: Journal | Tags: ,

One Comment, Comment or Ping

  1. rlh3


    Hi from WNY:DC,

    You forgot to mention that Georgia is where “Deliverance” was based/filmed with its cast of “characters”/folks. That Georgia is also the home of jimmy “peanut/I lust in my heart” carter.
    On the good side, its also the home of FT Benning: the US Army’s Infantry School “Follow Me.”

    Good luck with the job search.

    Have a good Army brat day.
    Keep up the Fire
    ..offers still stand

    17 Jan