Do you know your friends and neighbors back story? What you see may hide stories so fascinating they can keep you writing for a long, long time.
Take my neighbors from Thailand. Kitty and her husband are both doctors. They are affluent, live in an upper class neighborhood, have three children who are all physicians and six grandchildren.
Sounds boring but if one scratches the surface, one would find out that Kitty is not her real name. Her name is her native language means “Snow White.” According to her mother, she was such an ugly baby, that they had to give her a name that would bring her luck. Her mother abandoned her in a orphanage run by French nuns. She was educated and sent to France to college because of her high intelligence.
Her husband’s father was a heroine addict and had abandoned the family. Kitty and her husband met in Paris, came to the US and lived in a roach and mouse infested apartment until they graduated medical school and were able to get housing provided to the residents.
Another person let slip that she grew up in Manhattan. Sounds wonderful, doesn’t it? Later I learned that her parents’ enormous apartment was a cocaine processing plant. They sold cocaine until the police found out and raided the place.
The accountant down the street was from Jamaica and a partner in a New York firm. He was born in Uganda originally. His parents were killed by Edi Amin. The first four years of his life he foraged in the local dumps to survive. A Catholic priest found him and brought him to his orphanage. There he was educated and shipped to Jamaica for college and later to NYC for an advance degree.
I know you can’t pry, but your neighbor may be a phenomenal source of ideas for stories.