I rarely read the news. Ask me sometime to rant on the state of what passes as “News” in the US, if you like, but I’ll spare you my virtriol and shrieking for now. As it stands, I am on a 90% effective news fast.
This doesn’t mean I don’t read anything. I read everything I can get my hands on, and when I find stories about people, I imagine the romance within that story so fast you’d think I sneezed Care Bears and glitter. For example, I still have a cutout of this wedding announcement from eight years ago because the idea of a communal house in New York called “Aubergine” was enough to give me miniature stories to dream on for weeks, to say nothing of a ballerina marrying a PhD in European history. *le sigh*
Kathleen O’Reilly once told me that the inspiration for the O’Sullivan brothers series came from an article in a Manhattan newspaper (no memory of which one and there are, like fourteen different papers) about a group of brothers who owned a salad bar. Salad became cocktails and the brothers became some of my favorite male characters.
My new favorite “dream up a romance” news article is from this week’s Crain’s New York (a really fascinating newspaper about a subject I know exactly fuckall about): there are 9 New Yorkers on the US Olympic team, and they live in almost complete obscurity. Since New York is heavily populated by celebrities, athletes, and random famous people, the Olympic athletes from the five boroughs get very little attention – which is a screaming shame since it keeps them from lucrative sponsorship opportunities that might have allowed some of them to bring a parent to Beijing with them this week. While Olympic athletes are national heroes in other countries, in the US, that’s not so much the case. But the individuals profiled in the Crain’s article could make for the basis of a very fascinating character.
For example: the 18 year old sharpshooter who cannot own a gun in New York, and thus stores her rifles in Long Island and then goes up “to shooting ranges upstate or in New Jersey to practice.” Or the 29 year old steeplechaser “who trains in Central Park and has clocked some of the fastest times in his event in U.S. history.” Fascinating people who I might walk past on my way to work, who next week will be competing in Beijing – and who could make fascinating fiction character foundations. (I don’t mean that in a creepy way.) (Travel safe, y’all).