Good Morning Everyone. If you were here on Friday, you read the beginning of a story I "found" at the beach. Today I would like to show you just exactly HOW I found it. And if you haven't read it yet, (and if you want, no pressure) go now and take a gander. I'll wait.
Okay. Are you back? Good.
Now, most of you who have been reading me for awhile know that I call my daughter, The Monster Child. What you may not know about my Darling Monster is that she can make friends with anyone. Including inanimate objects.
On vacation at the beach, she made friends with any child under 4 feet tall. The second week we were there, she made friends with one child in particular, Sophie.
Sophie was beautiful, with huge blue eyes, very petite, and with a gor-ge-ous man, (who wore no wedding ring) as her companion. I watched carefully as Monster and she built a sand castle, and then played in the water. I warned Monster about going out too far in the surf because Sophie was smaller than her. The man, her dad, watched them, and me, all morning. Under the guise of my sunglasses, cowboy hat, and long sleeved shirt, I watched him right back.
(The first week there I gave my body to the Sun Gods. I ulitmately paid for that in sun poisoning. Even with SPF 85.)
That first day with Sophie, I waited for "the wife" to appear. She did not. The second day, Gorgeous Man and Sophie appeared with friends, several other children, and assorted adults. I assumed that one of these friends was G-man's brother (I mean, you could tell, they looked alike). However, no woman who would seem to be his wife or any kind of significant other. Gorgeous Man engaged with them, but sat to the side, watching Sophie and my Monster play. I went down to the kids on several occasions but he did not. However, I knew he watched me.
For the remainder of the week, while our kids played together, we played "undercover staring". You know, he looked my way, I looked away, I looked his way, he looked away. I felt like I was in my 20's again. Like I said, he was GOR-GE-OUS. Tall, 50-ish, sooo tan, Marine type haircut, and Paul Newman eyes. Very, may I repeat, very drool worthy.
On our next to last day at the beach, my mother came down and sat under the umbrella with me. However, she was blocking my view of Gorgeous Man so I moved my chair and faced away from the water and more toward the sand. Of course, she made a point to ask why I wasn't watching the Monster. So I nodded to Gorgeous Man and said, "I have something else I want to stare at for awhile."
Oh. My. God. You should have heard the lecture I got. I won't bore you with the haranguing, but even at almost fifty years old, why can mothers make you feel like you're ten years old again. Suffice it to say, she thought I was out of my mind for wasting my time staring at a man I would never meet.
I tried to explain to her the point wasn't in meeting him, the point was in memorizing him. To which she stared at me open-mouthed like I had sprung horns and breathed fire.
I'm a romance writer. I write about men and women and situations and circumstances that relate to love, the finding it, the losing it and everything in between. I also don't get out much back home, so seeing a real honest to God, bona fide hunk-and-a-half on the beach wearing nothing but a pair of orange surf shorts... well, yeah, I'm gonna stare at him. Especially as he was my age. (If he'd been 30, I'd have passed. I'm not a Cougar.)
That night, somehow the topic of G-man came up at dinner and Mary, (my mother's friend with whom we stayed) asked me if I'd introduced myself. I said no. She asked why not. And I said, "I don't want to meet him. I just want to look at him." Again, why not. To which I replied, "Because if I speak to him and he's a toad, then everything I've thought about him all week will be for naught. I've built him up to be something he's probably not and meeting him would only crush the fantasy."
The next day on the beach, (our last day on the beach) I had several opportunities to actually speak with Gorgeous Man. Several opportunities, my friends. And I did not take one of them.
Now, back home, I wonder if I did the right thing. I think I missed an opportunity, an important opportunity for my writing. But then again, did I?
In not speaking to him, I had a character already in my mind. I made up a whole backstory about who he was, why he was without wife, his background, his job, his compulsion for packing every single thing he might need for a few hours on the beach, even his family. Did I do him justice as a "character"? I don't know. Only you can be the judge of that.
Tell me -- If you had found an opportunity like that, would you have taken the time to speak to him? Or would you, like me, just stare and make stuff up? Do you take your characters from whole cloth, or do you piece them together to make them fit?