If you haven't been to Carmel, California then make it a destination on a future itinerary. It's a beautiful little place with fantastic restaurants and lovely local people. I recently went there with a group of people to help a best friend celebrate his 50th birthday. And in the midst of all this revelry, my muse got an unexpected jolt. At the end of the official night, we all sat around several tables at this little place called Brophy's--chatting, laughing--and then a whisper went around our group...the guy at the bar in the beanie...he looks like Colin Farrell...he's gorgeous...he's a hottie. Literally, we all gawked at his chiseled jaw...intense eyes...and of course we were all too obvious, so it was only a matter of time before he turned around and smiled at us. SWOON. Then, lord help me, he made eye contact with me directly, probably because I was the only one continuing to stare. I was a deer in the headlights. My brain said, "LOOK AWAY!" But, I couldn't. I froze. I actually froze like a dork. He smiled wider. I finally ripped my gaze away. (In my defense, I have to say that a man in beanie is my cryptonite.) I busied myself in a conversation, until I heard an urgent warning, "He's coming over here!" I looked up and Mr. Adorable was walking to our table. For a second I thought maybe he knew someone. Next thing I know he's standing next to me. He simply stated, "Why not be straight forward? I'm Dylan." He extended his hand. I'm not sure I responded right away. In fact, I don't remember what my original response was, or if I made one. A round of introductions took place. He bought the birthday boy a cocktail and joined our merry gathering.
Me: So what do you do?
Dylan: I climb mountains.
Me: (Completely intrigued) Really?
Me: (Thinking, who climbs mountains?) As a hobby?
My eyes narrowed with doubt, so he pulled out his phone and proved it. Holy crap. He really does climb mountains. Real mountains. Snow. Crampons. Huge backpacks. Mt. Shasta. Mt. Rainier. His gallery of pictures was stunning. One of my favorites was of him on the very top of Mt. Shasta, holding an American flag with the Earth literally a curved horizon in the background. Ah-mazing. We talked for hours. I listened to all his adventure stories.
Here's the reality of my writerly world: Meet handsome stranger in a new town and what am I thinking of? Wow! What a character he'd make in a contemporary romance novel. Bold. Confident, borderline cocky. Adventurous. Built like a Greek god. Nice tattoo. Signature style (the beanie). Mysterious. A delicious balance of available and unavailable. Thank you handsome stranger for striking the muse into over-drive. The next day as I drove home, my muse pestered me for 4 hours. As a result, I've got a great sketch for a character in a future contemporary romance novel. Someday, maybe, Dylan and I will meet again at Brophy's in that little Cali town...and I'll say "Hey! You're in a book." You know what they say about having writers as friends...chances are you'll end up as the foundation for a character in a novel, or will be sooner or later.
Here's some Coldplay for you :)