One of the very best thing about being a writer is that writers tend to notice more. Whether a writer was always more observant or she becomes so to "write what you know", we tend to see what other people skim over. So the scene below caught my attention as I was rushing to the DC Federal Courthouse last week for a contested and likely to be acrimonious hearing:
I snapped the photo for the "what is wrong with this picture" aspect. For me it was that someone who was apparently sleeping on the street had solar panels, a laptop and cell phone. But as I've thought about the picture and the man in it, I find I keep being drawn back to the question of why. Why did he end up this way? Is the apparent homeless person aspect just a front to give weight to his protest? How did he get solar panels? How is he running a computer off them? How is he paying is cell phone bill? If he's really homeless, how is he eating? Why protest in this manner? Why did our society allow him to slip out of the mainstream?
The story behind the picture fascinates me.
The day I took the photo I was rushing between courts. So, even though he was still there when I left the first hearing, I didn't have the time to talk to him without risking a yelling at from the next judge. I also wanted an hour or two to figure out his story. But if he's there when I go back to that court in May, I may have to buy him lunch and see if he'll answer my questions.
If not, I'll just have to find a story for him.
Inspiration is all around us. We just have to keep our eyes open and keep asking "why".