We weren't exactly an "antique shop" kinda family (more like a "sing showtunes in the car" kinda family), but I do remember one random Saturday afternoon when we went to an antique shop.
I have no idea why we went to an antique shop.
And I made one single purchase.
A large, framed, formal portrait of a soldier in uniform.
I'm not sure what war the photo was from...could have been from World War I or World War II or the Korean War or Vietnam.
And not only did I not know which war this soldier fought in...I also had absolutely no idea who this soldier was.
I hung that portrait on my wall. I had a friend from school, Raquel, who would come over my house and was incredibly creeped-out by this picture of the anonymous soldier that I had hanging on my wall...
...but I really LIKED that portrait.
I used to look at that soldier and realized that he lived once...and maybe he was still alive...he had a childhood and a family and friends...people loved him and some people didn't like him...maybe he died in the war...maybe he survived it. The possibilities were so incredibly endless.
Maybe that's the writer in me showing...the fact that I can't pass a person on the street without making-up a whole story to go along with them.
I never bought a used book before. I did so a couple of weeks ago. (I had a random, "Let's watch miniseries of the 70's and 80's weekend" recently. I have an odd DVD collection...among them are Jesus of Nazareth, The Thorn Birds and Holocaust.
Watching these DVDs put me in the mood to read! I had already read The Thorn Birds (roughly 90 times), and a good chunk of The Bible, so all that was left was to read the novel which Holocaust was based on. The book seems to be out-of-print (which is such a shame, because it is absolutely brilliant), but I managed to find a used copy on Amazon.com.
It was delivered a week later, and my next three train commutes were devoted to reading this book.
Inside the front cover, the name "Evelyn Williamson" was written in neat cursive. There goes my mind again...who WAS Evelyn Williamson? I imagined Evelyn Williamson buying this book, inscribing her name in it. I imagined the book being shuffled around and discarded when Evelyn sold her house after her children had moved out and moved to a condo in Florida, and didn't have the room for her elaborate book collection.
Or maybe she really didn't like the book.
Or maybe she had to read it for a college class and didn't have a use for it after the course was over.
I plead "Writer's Block" sometimes...and I really shouldn't...because I think that as long as there is a portrait of a random soldier or a book with a name written in pretty handwriting inside of it, there will always be something to trigger a story...