For me, though, the social situations feed the writing. So many of my short stories have their seeds in bar talk, discussions around my table or in observations where people gather.
I realized this in a recent assignment on Black History Month for Quail Bell Magazine. Always taking the less-traveled path, I chose to focus not on American black history but on my explorations of history in the Turks and Caicos Islands. I paired a flash fiction piece, "Slave Hands," with an explanation of the story's genesis in two different bar conversations. (The companion pieces will be found in February at www.quailbellmagazine.com)
That work got me thinking about other stories I've written that have their primary origins in bars and other social gatherings. I looked at my story list and found seven more that "began" as comments or discussions at North Caicos bars and restaurants (Big Josh McIntosh's, Pelican Beach and the now-gone St. Charles) and four more from my Aloe House table.
Not everything I've written comes from table/bar talk, but enough does that I can see my coming visit to North Caicos as creative fodder. I've been hiding from the cold in my Richmond apartment too long, letting social media take the place of real socializing.
And interestingly, I don't have one piece of writing that owes its start to Facebook!