We all use things to inspire and motivate. For example, when I am feeling especially lazy and sluggish, I flip on the TV and watch an episode of Hoarders. It provides all the fuel I need to clean the house. I’m not a hoarder in the least. I “spring clean” at least once a quarter. But Hoarders makes me feel like I have too much stuff. I end up reorganizing my linen closet, pantry, and other cabinets crazily throwing things out that sometimes I shouldn’t, just for good measure. My husband always knows when I watch Hoarders. The house is spotless and the trash can is full. He is worried that one day he will come home to the furniture at the curb. What can I say? I’m a minimalist. Well, only when I watch Hoarders.
I use a lot of things to inspire and motivate my writing too. Real life experiences are always the best or even taking news stories and embellishing them until they fit what you need. Recently, I visited the Los Angeles area. My husband and I spent the day sightseeing. First we went to the La Brea Tar Pits. I suppose this isn’t your typical vacation activity, but it was in this book we bought called Weird California and we had to go see them. It wasn’t what I expected at all. I thought I would see these olympic-sized pools of hot molten tar bubbling located in a dessert wasteland. Nope. It was small, cool-to-the-touch sized areas of tar and earth in the middle of a major metropolitan area.
Cool. I think I can use the tar pits for my future writings. Yup. What if they weren’t sectioned off? What if new tar pits swallowed up buildings, cars and even people? What if they came to life like that old 1958 movie, The Blob? Yeah! Now that's something I can get on board with, or at very minimum write so I can laugh about it later.
Moving along, we hit up the Sunset Strip to do the Star walk. It was filled with wonderfully fascinating people, many an aspiring actor trying to earn a buck. There was even a guy on a harmonica singing a song about how nice it was to take a piss (pardon my French, but that is really what he said). My favorite part was one particular star. Nerd alert!! I love Ray Bradbury.
Then, as we left for the evening and headed back to our hotel more than an hour away, we started to get grouchy at each other. And even though the traffic could make the Dalai Lama grouchy, we soon realized the source of our grumps was the fact that we were starving and that Jake’s teeth were floating he had to pee so badly. Perhaps it was the not-so-subliminal messaging in that song earlier? Who knows.
Jake wanted steak. So, I looked up steakhouses on my GPS and found one really close. It had a high Zagat rating, and was called an Italian Steakhouse. We got there and it was packed! Jake ran to the bathroom and I paid off the Maître d' to get us a table quicker. I was so proud of myself. I’ve never done that before. We got a seat and realized this was no ordinary steakhouse. There was Salsa Music playing at this Italian Steakhouse. Wait a minute? Are they changing to Greek? Yup. We hear OPA! Over and over again along with a language that I know isn’t Spanish. There were flyers on the table for the restaurant’s Dominican Dance Lessons on Friday nights and we were offered French onion soup. Twice I was mistaken for Hillary Scott, the leader singer for Lady Antebellum. There were also women in their 50’s and 60’s in scantily clad, skin-tight dresses with their hair teased out to kingdom come. The food? It was just okay. The experience made it worth it. And when we got back to our hotel room laughing in hysterics at our dining experience, we flipped on the TV to see that there was a shooting next door to where we were dining. Yikes! We glanced at a map and realized we were in East LA. Oops! Apparently it was a rougher neighborhood. But we survived to tell the tale. And now, I can’t wait to add this colorful steakhouse as a scene in my next book.
We would love to hear your stories!Please feel free to share an epicly awesome adventure you’ve had that you are sure will be told for generations to come. We would love to hear all the sordid, pleasant and downright comical details.
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Posted by Stephanie D. Birch, blogger extraordinaire!