Am I The Only Photo Creeper?
It’s with some certainty that I contend we all have camera phones at this point. You know it. I know it. And most of what we tend to see from others shows up on Facebook and Instagram as photos with pets and children.
But me? Well . . . I am an admitted and apparently addicted photo creeper, willing to take pictures of anything that amuses me. For that matter, a light bulb might amuse me on any given day. Another day? A melting stick of butter.
Take these two gentlemen who by some quirk happened to be dressed almost precisely alike, sitting back to back at an outdoor restaurant. They were each examining the menu. I was across from them and before I could help myself I’d surreptitiously snapped their picture. It’s just what I do. In fact, I’ve been known during doctor visits to quietly snap pictures of other people in the waiting room. They all look as bored as I feel. Most are on cell phones. (I don’t post those pictures, of course. There is this thing called privacy, right? But for some odd reason I find them entertaining.) And come on. You have to admit you’d want to snag a photo just like this if the opportunity presented itself. Who could walk away from it?
Actually, all of this is a handy pastime, because oddball photos occasionally turn into ideas for books. Check out this sign in a small community of psychics and mediums in a place called Cassadaga, just outside Lake Helen in Central Florida. It was founded in 1875 by a medium and now has about 100 to 120 residents, about half of whom make a paltry living doing readings. Still, it’s a marvelously compelling place and I’ve visited twice. The last time I took a veritable boatload of pictures in Cassadaga. And yes, I also had a reading, which cost me about $35 and was worth about $5 for the amusement. That’s because the psychic was really, really . . . bad.
Still, if you’ve ever wondered how In the Spirit of Murder, the first in my Claudia Hershey mystery series, came into being — what with a psychic found dead on a Halloween night and all — well, now I suppose you know. That place. Those pictures. The atmosphere of an old-fashioned, old Florida town: It screamed out for a story, and so I made one. Mind you, Cassadaga wasn’t by any stretch the only impetus, but it was an important element, though with my own kind of setting and characters, most of them actually not psychics or mediums.
I don’t know where other fiction writers get their ideas. And photos aren’t my only way to create stories. I just know that I’m a photo creeper and it’s part of my imaginative arsenal. So now you know.