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Sit down in a café and observe the surrounding and the people!
I don’t necessarily mean meet your friends in a café, but I mean, really take a little time for yourself and sit down in a café on your own, order your favourite drink and maybe a piece of cake and just observe.
Let the surrounding unfold its various impressions and take a look at the people.
What a friend and I did quite a long time ago was this: We sat down in a café together (it was summer, so we could sit outside, but it also works when you sit inside and can look outside) The pedestrians passing by inspired us and when for instance a couple packed with bags and upset facial expressions came along, one of us said “Okay, I’m the man, you take the woman!” and we began to synchronise them. The funniest and absurdest dialogues emerged. They must have been far away from what the people actually thought or said, but it was a nice amusement. (that I’d like to do again one day)
The basic principle of this procedure must be the same as the one underlying improvisational theatre, because you have to include all movements and facial expressions and plot-twists. But it also works without a second person in whose company you can develop such conversations.
But to think about what the people might think, what they are doing at that moment, where they come from, where they are going, can be the basis for a good story. As well as the surrounding can support the atmosphere.
Especially now in the hectic of the advent season, while oneself is seated comfortably in a café, you can find sources of inspiration. It also works in the summer, seating yourself with a blanket in a park. It doesn’t have to be a café, of course not.
Once I strolled through a park and I took a small break on a bench and observed my surrounding. I saw a man on a bike, who had one child seated in front of him and the other on the back of the bike, a couple in their forties, freshly in love, a young couple having a dispute in a foreign language, leaning against a tree there was a dark haired young man who looked over to his girlfriend wearing a yellow headscarf with a loving glance while she was typing an sms before she turned to him again, a granny with her grandchildren taking a walk, an English speaking, pregnant woman with her little daughter who was excited and looked around until she made her daddy out in the mass of people and started running towards him, screaming a stretched “Daddy” and he took her up on his strong arms. All this is the basis for stories, or can be. Especially when you consider similarities, differences and common features. Because all I was able to see was love. No matter in which shape, those people looked differently, belonged to different age groups, had different origins and their relation to one another was different, but they had one thing in common: the underlying shared emotional connection.
If that’s not a basis for a story!
And even if you sit down somewhere with someone else and you observe the same things, your perceptions will differ and so will the stories that you write later on.
And this is what makes it so exciting and inspirational.
I can only recommend you try it out, even if you don’t write stories but you chase another creative destination, be it painting or drawing or music or photography, writing short stories, poems, books, tv formats, short films, movies or something else that didn’t cross my mind right now, I think it’s a wonderful method to keep moving and to stay creative.
Be creative. Be yourself.