Really, in the end, the only thing that can make you a writer is the person that you are, the intensity of your feeling, the honesty of your vision, the unsentimental acknowledgment of the endless interest of the life around and within you.
- Santha Rama Rau
In order to write fully, we must live fully.
The best story ideas, plot twists, and character personalities stem from our own experiences. The more new things we experience, the more our mind opens up to new possibilities. A hike through the woods might give us story ideas about fairies. Going to a concert might give us an idea about a scene we could write using the concert hall as a backdrop.
I once went to a friend’s recital, and as I sat there listening to her and the orchestra play, I suddenly came up with a great idea for how to solve a particularly tricky story problem. I don’t know if it was the music or the experience that unlocked that part of my brain, but whatever it was, I’m glad that I took the time to support her and listen to her play.
So in order to fuel our imagination and feed our hungry muses, we must strive to experience as many new things as possible. We should make an occasion out of the simplest things, like celebrating a full moon, or the coming of spring. We must create random events from intriguing dates (such as 11/11/11) or join others as they celebrate their own significant days such as birthdays, religious holidays or even political days of interest.
At the most, we can get wonderful story ideas, or be inspired to write about what we have experienced. At the very least, we get to enjoy ourselves and appreciate life.
That’s why I never pass up an opportunity to experience something new. So when I was given the chance to watch a Lakers game for the first time ever, I naturally leapt!
Last Sunday, January 16, 2011, Maiko, Lena and I went on a wonderful field trip. The main event was watching a Lakers vs. Clippers game, but we made an occasion of it.
We first had brunch at the Urth Caffe near downtown LA. I was so excited to be there because the coffe shop/restaurant actually has the same name as my book title “Urth”.
I already began thinking of the possibilities. I told my friends, if my book ever gets published, wouldn’t it be great to have a book signing event here? I mean how perfect is it that the café had the same title as my book—and apparently, the same environmental thrust?
Lena and Maiko ordered omelets,
while I got all fancy and ordered this wonderful dish:
It’s smoked salmon fillet on top of poached egg and sweet brioche, with a side of melon slices. Yummy!
Maiko ordered this awesome Japanese green tea latte (notice the leaf design) while Lena and I shared a pot of herbal tea.
After enjoying a hearty brunch, Lena drove us downtown to watch the game. We found a cheap parking spot by Sunbury St. and walked to the Staples Center. We took some pictures outside and excitedly strode indoors to find our seats.
As soon as I entered the arena, I felt a rush of excitement. I was actually going to watch not one, but two LA teams play! And I was going to see my favorite players. Yes, I am admittedly a Lakers fan. Don’t hate.
There was so much to feast my eyes on. I could barely sit still. Loud music blared all around the stadium, and the screen flashed scenes from the court constantly.
DJ Dense making music
I spent most of the game gaping at my favorite basketball players, and taking tons of pictures with my camera. I followed every event with thirsty eyes, and began cheering as soon as the players entered the court:
Clippers entering the arena
Lakers entering the court
Players warming up
Melody, a member of the Pussycat Dolls, sang the national anthem while the players respectfully faced each other across the court.
Melody, a Pussycat Doll member, singing the national anthem
Players lined up for the national anthem
Then the buzzer rang, signalling the start of the game. Each team gathered together, possibly saying prayers, but most likely lending each other strength.
Then the game began. The three of us sat transfixed, watching our favorite players do their jobs.
The Lakers were leading by 1 point by the time the buzzer signaled Half-Time. The Clippers Spirit Team, who have been tumbling on and off the court during breaks, came on again.
I noticed that long hair seemed to be a requirement for these cheerleaders. I realized later on that it made sense, considering all the hair-whipping they needed to do for their performances.
The Clippercussion also made their way onto the court. They beat their drums joyfully and tried to get the crowd even more riled up.
Also during the Half-Time break, Dominic Lacasse, who has performed on the Ellen Degeneres Show, made his big appearance. He was introduced as “The Human Flag”. At first, we thought he was some kind of dancer, but when he did this:
We realized just how extraordinary his talent was. I couldn’t even do 1 pull-up exercise on a bar, and this guy was defying gravity –holding himself horizontally using sheer arm and body strength!
The half-time break ended, and the players filed back into the court. It was an exciting game so far, and I knew it would only get better.
Soon we were witnessing great passes and amazing shots from both teams.
Jumpshot by Kobe
It was an amazing feeling to see Coach Phil Jackson, Kobe, Pau and all the rest of the other players in person. I mean, I only ever watch them on TV (and only if they make the championships), and here they were in person, running up and down the court, so close I could almost smell the sweat dripping down their backs. Okay, so we weren’t sitting THAT close, but it sure seemed like it, looking through my zoom lens.
Coach Phil Jackson
The Lakers lost that day, but we were still happy. We are LA fans, and the Clippers are also an LA team. It was a win-win situation.
Since the game ended at around 3PM, we still had time to take another little trip. The three of us decided to have an excursion to the San Antonio Winery (where Lena bought the two boxes of wine which we enjoyed at the two Christmas parties we had at home).
The San Antonio Winery had ample parking space, so we had no trouble finding a spot. Upon entering, we saw people buying bottles upon bottles of wine. Our stomachs inevitably led us to the restaurant.
The servings looked large so we decided to share a couple of entrees among the three of us. We ordered an eggplant sandwich, and the Chef’s Plate.
The server led us to the table and we chatted while waiting for our orders. Minutes later, the server came out with the sandwich and three extra plates. While we were eating, the server came back and informed us that they were unfortunately out of the Chef’s Plate. For our troubles, they gave us a free plate of this awesome seafood pasta, as well as two choices of dessert. We picked a slice of Tiramisu and a plate of Canoli.
What amazing service! We got a feast—and we got way more than what Maiko paid for.
We devoured the entire thing. Full to the brim, we wandered into the wine shop. There were many people tasting wine.
A variety of spirits and liquors paraded themselves on the shelves.
A man with silver hair asked if we needed help. We told him we were interested in trying out some wine. He gave us three small wineglasses and poured us each a glass of white wine, red wine and two kinds of champagne.
I don’t remember any of their names now, but I do remember liking all of them—well except for the champagne.
Maiko ended up buying half a box of mixed, sweet red and white wine bottles. I think she was a bit tipsy after several glasses:
We headed home and ended the day by watching “Easy A” and “Sex in the City2” on our big screen.
It was a most wonderful day indeed. It felt like Christmas all over again. I got a couple of good ideas for my book, but mostly I enjoyed spending time with my two best friends. Best of all though, I gained memories to last me a lifetime.
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