Each morning, when I should be starting my writing day, there’s one big diversion that keeps me from focusing: my newspaper. I read the paper every day, preferably as soon as I get up. I find it’s chock full of articles that immediately send my imagination into hyperdrive.
Take this week’s police blotter, where the cops received a call at four in the morning about a man who had pulled up to a gas pump on Woodside Road, gone inside to buy a bag of chips, and disappeared. It was a tiny paragraph lost among the usual brief reports of robberies and fights, but
it instantly produced so many questions. First off, who called the police? Was there a passenger in the car who waited for several minutes and then went inside to see what was taking so long and discovered the driver was gone? And where was the driver? Had he gotten mad at the passenger, slipped out the back, and walked to the nearest bus station? Did the clerk kill him when he didn’t have exact change and then stick him in the deep freeze? I suspect the situation wasn’t nearly that interesting, but since I’ll never know, it creates the perfect opportunity to plot out his disappearance.
Another story that’s been in the news lately is the location of Jimmy Hoffa’s body. In recent days someone has come forward and claimed he was buried under the driveway of a house in Michigan. It looks like that theory isn’t going to pan out, which means the whereabouts of his remains are still unknown. Is he really buried under a stadium? At a horse farm? In a swamp? Or did he discover that enough people wanted him dead that it made sense to go into hiding? Maybe he died in a Florida nursing home under the assumed name of John Smith. Will we ever know?
And speaking of missing remains, how about Amelia Earhart? She disappeared in 1937 and people still want to know what happened to her. Recently, they’ve found clues that support the idea that she managed to land on an island and survive for months with her copilot. What must she have been doing all that time? Trying to fix the plane? Scavenging for food? Watching rescue planes fly
over with no way to attract their attention?
It’s amazing to me that in the cases of Hoffa and Earhart, these people have been missing for decades yet people are still interested in their stories, myself included. So while I know I should be writing, not reading, I’ll keep snapping open my paper first thing in the morning. Rather than being a diversion, it’s an inspiration. Or maybe that’s just an excuse to put off my writing a little longer.