Our apartment building has a extremely, painfully slow elevator. So slow, in fact, that people often walk down the stairs versus waiting for it to come up. You’ll do several round trips to the seventh-floor before it makes it’s way up. So, so slow that almost everyone rushes to close the doors (once inside) to avoid taking it with someone else and risk the never-ending small talk.
Ok, maybe that’s not what they’re doing… just me.
Anyway, usually – when you do find yourself stuck with someone inside that elevator – it takes almost a minute for the doors to close. And once it finally does, it takes even longer for it to pull itself up the elevator-straps to make its way. Then, when it finally arrives to your floor, it takes several seconds more for the doors to open and let you out.
Talk about time suck.
But why am I bringing up elevators to talk about a writing life?
Well, because I don’t know about you, but elevators are that rare, never talked about space where so much could go on in a story. It’s where you can meet and create characters close to home, that you can observe more often and then add, tweak to make them more relatable.
It’s where neighbors really meet – and often are forced to get to know other beyond the quick wave of the hand when entering or leaving the building.
It lets you know where exactly a neighbor lives, what floor, and if you see them carrying bags, where do they shop, order-in and what do they like to eat.
It also lets you know when someone might be moving in or out of the building, or if someone is getting a new furniture or putting out old stuff. (Our building management puts wall-to-wall padding to protect the elevator from getting scratched up, if someone is moving in or out, or simply doing construction.)
And finally, the elevator is usually the only space that moves all about in the building. It keeps going, besides what goes in each individual apartment, and has stories to build on from it all. What color is the elevator? Is it dark? Does it have mirrors or pictures hanging from it? Does it play music?
So yes, being stuck in that elevator has it’s perks. Writing perks, that is. Just avoid not seeming too creepy or follow characters you find too interesting.
Writing Prompt: Do you have an elevator in your building? What’s been your most interesting encounter in an elevator? What stories can you build from that space? What are some great elevator scenes that stick out from movies or favorite books?