Like a longer message? This is from my fortnightly newsletter, and you can get in on that action if you want more. Just enter your information here, and I’ll be poppin’ into your inbox before you know it!

The following is a true story…for your weekend reading amusement.

A friend asked me late last week, “What are you doing for Valentine’s Day?”

“Oh, I’m going to see the new Rebel Wilson movie.”

She did that pity-head-tilt that is trying to be supportive. “Good for you.”

If there was ever a time for someone to wink at me, it would have been now.

“Well, I’m going on my own.”

“Oooh, maybe you’ll meet someone there!”

“Not sure how many people I’ll meet, alone at the early showing in a dark movie theatre, but I appreciate your optimism.” 

It’s important to have those people who believe in you, thinking that you aren’t the dating and relationship Chernobyl that you are.

Fast forward to V-Day.

The movie theatre here is self-service, and you choose your seat from those available on a screen before you go in. I had ordered a few days before, knowing I’d be getting off a consultation call and jumping into my car to race over and buy delicious-yet-horrible-for-you butter-soaked movie theatre popcorn before the previews had kicked in.

At the time, I was the only person who had purchased a ticket.

Though it was a 4:30pm showing, I figured more people would obviously buy as the day got closer. It’s Valentine’s Day, after all. And this is a movie marketed as the anti-romantic-comedy rom-com. Fun for everyone!

I walked into the theatre, which has (yes, I went and counted just for the accuracy of this story) 142 seats.

141 to choose from with my one selected “unavailable” blue square.

My thought that other people might have bought tickets was very inaccurate.

There were only two other people in the theatre with me — a single dad, with his tween-aged daughter.

Now, here is the part in the story they refer to as a “call-back.”

Remember a few sentences above, when I noted that not only do you have to pre-select your seats before going into the theatre, but that mine was now blued out?

I looked at my ticket, confirmed it was seat G9, and did the quick math to discover the only other two people in the entire theatre had bought the two seats directly beside me.

Yep, on my lovely “just gonna go out and have a nice me-time lounge in a dark theatre watching completely unrealistic love storylines play out on screen while I stuff my face with trans-fats and salts” — this guy had chosen to sit himself RIGHT BESIDE ME.

Now, dear reader, how do you think this story played out?

  • Did I avoid them entirely? Duck past, even though they obviously knew they had chosen to sit by the one lonely-heart in the theatre, and sit three rows behind them to devour my smuggled Reese’s-stuffed heart (oh, I brought that too) in peace?
  • Did I take the advice of my well-meaning friend? Sit down, meet someone new, let the whimsy of a nearly scripted Hollywood meet-cute be start of a new fun adventure?
  • Did I make it weird? Plant down irritatedly in the seat beside them, the three of us together as the only people in a theatre, but never say a word and immediately leave after to avoid post-movie conversation?

Is your mind spinning, with all the beautiful, horrible, hilarious, and/or romantic possibilities?

I’ve had a number of conversations the past couple weeks with readers who signed up for free consultations with me this month who are struggling to come up with ideas.

But let me tell you: coming up with what to write about — what stories to tell — can be as easy as the above.

A simple introduction, a set-up for something to happen…and that’s where the magic happens.

Your mind can spin out. Explore the different possibilities. Run down all the potential scenarios. Let your imagination tumble, let your curiosity roam. In this moment, the world is your oyster and nothing is wrong.

Write them all out, even in short-hand scribbles. Give them a chance in your outline. See what feels right.

Let down your walls and see what happens.

Reality and fact-checking are what happen in editing.

Any of those situations could have played out, but only one did.

Which one, you ask?

Well, since we’re all the authors of our own life story, some chapters are still being written. 

Ooooo…a cliffhanger!