Friday, 5 September 2014

The Lives of Others

I just came home from a friend and on my way I could not resist looking into a few apartments. Now that it starts to get dark outside ealier and people have to turn on the lights in the evening it is quite easy to get a glimpse of their homes. And that's when little stories start to form inside my head.

The houses in my neighbourhood are quite fancy - except mine of course. Buildings from the late 19th century with these ridiculously high, ornamented ceilings. Just beautiful! One of the rooms I saw had these wonderful ceilings paired with a chandelier. It looked like a ballroom!
Well, a very small one I have to admit, but at least like a room appropriate for a Jane-Austen-esque party with fancy people talking about fancy things and sipping at fancy drinks.

I immedately imagined the people living in this house as an educated couple and this was the dining room where they would sit down with a small group of friends. They would drink some red wine and talk about politics, literature and society.

Moments like this give me the chance to create my own short stories. By taking a few given facts like the surroundings, the furniture and the house itself and taking it as a frame I add some details to it. I think about what kind of people could live there, what they do for a living or how they like to spend their freetime. What kind of relationships exist in this household? Is it harmonious? Maybe there is some kind of a dark family secret?

Some of the stories I make up tend to be a bit over the top, but that's what imagination does, right? But at other times it is just a simple scene like a man sitting in his room with book shelves that end right under the ceiling. He is just sitting there in his huge armchair and enjoying a good book. Nothing special, right?

On the other hand I will never know what the daily life is like for these people and to me it is exciting that there might be a small truth in the things I imagine. Moreover this "method" combines all of the elements I enjoy about stories: apparently ordinary people with ordinary lives with a hint of mystery and darkness.
At least if that's where my fantasy takes me.

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