Headless Body in Topless Bar

My dad laminated the famous, or should I say infamous, New York Post front page with that headline and we used it as a placemat when we had lunch in our ad agency’s conference room. When I’ve been asked the question, “Where do you get your ideas?” I think about that placemat. Inspiration is everywhere.

            Still, I’m not a big reader of tabloids, like the Post, as I’ve discovered that I find completely outrageous and tidbits and story starting points in the more staid pages of The New York Times. You just have to look beyond the front page and delve into the regional and national news. I live in a country full of eccentric killers, cults of all kinds and extraordinary heroes, too.

            Sometimes, when I’m sitting in the window of the NewsBar (my favorite place for morning coffee) I stumble upon a story that is just too weird for fiction. I used to cut these wacky bits and pieces out and keep them in files, but saving craziness to the cloud has replaced that habit and my old files on everything from the phenomenon of false confessions and remembrances of alien abductions to phobias and the fates of fallen dictators are headed for the shredder. It’s just so easy to find them on the web. I don’t need the pounds of paper anymore.

            I don’t know what happened to that placemat. Would I serve dinner to my friend on it? No, I don’t think so. I prefer less ironic table settings and keep my wicked side out of the kitchen.


  1. With our constant access to news of all kinds now, I wonder if it really is true that real life is stranger than fiction? Sure we have hobbits, vampires, and magics galore in all manner of fiction but the strange quiet guy who lived next door, who kept the skin of children in his freezer, now that’s some strange and scary stuff.

    And we never really know which to believe anymore.

    • Candy Korman

      I think the absolute strangeness of real life is what drives us to create fantasy monsters. It’s much easier to believe that only vampires drink blood and that the strange man next door is just strange and not a serial killer. Of course, if he’s really a werewolf, it makes a much better story. LOL…

      Today’s paper, as usual, was top-loaded with source material just waiting to be amplified into fiction.

  2. I used to clip newspaper stories as well to mine for story ideas, but not any more since most everything is electronic. My new craze seems to be photos, whether it’s ones I take of people on the street or what I can find in image searches.

    • Candy Korman

      I have postcards and photos all over my desk — right now front and center are two postcards. One is of a Magritte (depicting a painter painting a nude, but she is on the same plane of reality as the artist and not on a canvas) that breaks the visual equivalent of the third wall in a drama and the other is a Botticelli from the Uffizi of Athene and a Centaur. Athene seems ready for battle, but she plays with the Centaur’s hair. Reality/Unreality/Manipulated Reality… I think there’s a theme here. My files were full of false confessions, cults heavy on group think, alien abduction memoirs — the pictures carry the theme in the same direction.

      What I don’t have is my own photos. Unlike you, I’m not exactly a talented photographer. Oh, well…