I was looking at a picture on Facebook today of a friend who is traveling to a wedding. The picture in question was of some sightseeing - my friend and her friend were taking a selfie together in front of a large stucco house. Next to them a young lady looks into a different direction. Her hand is up to her neck, she's wearing a large, long-sleeve pull-over shirt with a small handbag over her shoulder. Her long hair is pulled around, over the shoulder on the other side of her face. She is beautiful, and she looks thoughtful. She takes care with her appearance, eyebrows, lashes, etc.
Without thinking about it, I begin to create in my mind a storyline along the lines of Sleepless in Seattle. A man looks at a picture of a friend, and is immediately taken with a bystander who was in the frame. He knows nothing about this stranger, but he falls for her immediately and thus begins that adventure of figuring out who she is, finding her and hoping beyond hope that she would even see him after all of that.
Of course, my logical side tells me that this man has bigger issues if he's going to be throwing his heart to a woman that he doesn't know and immediately assign to her some personality characteristics that he finds attractive and mysterious. But, when has a person's logical side been very much fun to be around?
I just want to know who she is, what she's thinking about. What causes the insecurity that we see written so plainly on her face? What is the burden that she is carrying alone, and could I possibly help her with it? Would she let me? Would she let me wrap my arm around her, like she's wrapping her own arm around her waist, supporting at the elbow the other arm that is raising her hand so gently and thoughtfully to her slender neck? I could protect her from whatever she is worried about. We could be happy together, if only I could find her – with so little information to go on.
Creepy? Li'l bit. Just a little. One thing that I like, though, is that as a writer I'm allowed to think along these lines. It's encouraged, even. If a man or woman that I knew were thinking and acting like this I'd have a serious discussion with them regarding their mental stability and the possibility of a psychiatric evaluation. But, for a person who creates fiction, this troubled moment, unintentionally captured in an otherwise cheerful photograph, inspires an entire world. I could build a novel in which a man wonders (and then obsesses about) this woman. Slowly I could develop the story behind the man, as he tries to piece together who she is. As I painted this picture, I would describe why an otherwise stable person would act in such an impulsive – if not romantic way. And when one writes regularly, this sort of thought progression happens often. Daily, if we allow it to.