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Tuesday, August 3, 2010

The People You Meet

Inspiration can strike anywhere. I'm amazed by people who have true writer's block, because I've never gone a day without experiencing some sort of inspiration. It could be passing a strange billboard or something that annoys me during the commute or just the way a person is dressed or talking that day. It's all around us!

So yesterday as I was sitting at my local Pep Boys for some unscheduled vehicular maintenance, I had little else to do but wait and be inspired. And boy was I!

Nothing spectacular happened, just those day to day events that people take for granted, the countless little interactions among people that no one pays attention to. The way the guy at the counter answered the phone and talked with customers, the way the mechanics talked to each other, the customers interacting with everyone else, pretty interesting stuff if you ask me.

Then, while I was getting some awful fake Mexican food at the Qdoba across the street, this random guy started talking to me. Turns out his car was in the shop too and he'd also come over to kill time and his taste buds. Guy's name was Terry. In the few minutes that I talked to him, I learned that he bought a Volvo (the one that was in the shop) after a car accident wrecked his other vehicle, that the Volvo had 220,000 miles on it, that he served in Vietnam for 2 yrs teaching soldiers who couldn't read, which got him interested in education. So Terry did his undergrad at Penn St and his grad work at Pitt. Then he worked at a prison in Ohio and started an accredited program for inmates there. Then he took up pottery and ended up finding work doing terra cotta restoration for buildings in Pittsburgh. (This is why I remember him as Terry "Potter" or the Terry cotta warrior...)

You can probably tell that Terry was a talker and was really interested in telling his story (not so much listening to mine. And he was probably trying to pick me up, which failed for a vast number of reasons.)

Point is, the night would have been far less interesting without these interactions, especially the conversation with Terry. Last night's events may find their way into a short piece of fiction, possibly submitted by myself to Glimmer Train's upcoming round. Hopefully they'll find Terra Cotta Terry as interesting as I did!



Deb Smythe said...

Just wanted to stop by because I enjoyed your story in the Clarity of Night contest. Sounds like you've got another good story in the making. "Terry Cotta"- love it:) Good luck with Glimmer Train.

Vincent Kale said...


Thanks for the visit and the comment!
Loved "Broken Shores" by the way. I'm a sucker for zombie stories!