Imagined histories

A well-loved practice technique of writers everywhere is to imagine identities and histories for the people they see day to day. What does that girl on the subway with the shiny purple pants do for a living? What kind of a family raised the huge man in the ill-fitting business suit, and why does he never wear the same tie twice? What secret life does the woman with her sad eyes and her chai lattes lead? What does the young man with the haunted eyes conceal in his tightly-clutched backpack?

Today, go somewhere public and make up histories for the people you see. But first, read this wonderful example of someone else’s tendency to invent stories for the people he meets.

 

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