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All Those Stories

[ NEW YORK, NY - NYC - 7/9/2000 - www.Littleviews.com ]

>>  If you're constantly seeking intellectual stimulation and interesting stories, consider attending the some of the hundreds of classes and lectures hosted weekly in the city.

But, if you want to hear unique stories from so-called everyday people, strike up conversations and let curiosity be your guide. I purchased a book from Al Gelman (pictured), who had a stall near Washington Square, and asked if I could draw him. As a bonus, I heard about his extensive experiences in the publishing industry and learned how changes in distribution are forcing many publishers out of business.

Pay Attention!

Pay attention to everyone! Talk to the people who wait on you in restaurants. Many are performers working to get their break on Broadway or are already performing in plays, comedy clubs and in TV commercials.

And then there are street musicians. Some play paint buckets while others perform with full sound systems. Hang around. Show your respect by sharing your cash and applause. Then, if it's appropriate, talk to them during their break to learn about their background and what it's like to play on the street.

Look for interesting people, but don't make assumptions about who they may be. I've met a psychologist who used to play the comedy clubs and a luggage salesman who regularly appears in TV commercials. Then there are writers of all types, people who have numerous sideline businesses, plus people born in New York who can tell you about all the changes they've seen. And have I mentioned cab drivers?

An excellent example of finding interesting stories in unlikely places is showcased on www.pbs.org/weblab/needcom. Here you'll see and read stories about several New York panhandlers, learn how much they earn on an average day and have an opportunity to vote on how effective you think their pitches are.

Of course, one bonus to curiosity is that it generally costs nothing. Another is that you make new friends. The best bonus, however, is that through curiosity, you gather fresh information to fuel your own creative expression. Then, when others talk to you, you'll always have something interesting to say . . .

Karen Little

Article and drawing by Karen Little. First published on 7/9/2000. All rights reserved by www.Littleviews.com.

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