NYC is like a mini world all it's own so anyone I meet here shouldn't come as a surprise, but still, it does.
I took a trip last Saturday to what was once Brooklyn Harley Davidson (before they lost the license, started selling Victory motorcycles and scooters, and then ultimately went out of business--very sad) to hang out with the owner and some other friends that still linger in the near-empty show room. As I pull into the lot, two other Harley bikes pull in alongside me, both decked out in animal skins and feathers and fringes. One of them, blasting Native American music. AWESOME.
I notice the helmet of the rider playing the music says "Cherokee" written in Cherokee. He's Cherokee, I'm Cherokee, so, naturally, we start talking. Turns out we're both from North Carolina, although he was born and raised on the reservation and I've never set foot on it. When I was young, my mom had wanted to move us to the rez, but because of the blood quantum there was a chance my sister and I wouldn't be totally accepted and at the time it wasn't a risk she'd wanted to take.
So in short, these guys turn out to be two of the nicest, most interesting people I have ever met. Little Hawk and Greywolf, of the North Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, an organization I didn't know existed.
I never expected to run into Cherokee Indians in NYC, who speak fluent Cherokee, and fly the rebel flag. And to form such a connection with them, like we're family, was an awe inspiring moment for me. It reminded me that people are three dimensional, and character inspiration can come from anywhere. Real life connections and real life characters are what enrich the writing process and help us, as writers, to create memorable characters with complex relationships.
Greywolf (left) and LittleHawk (right)
photo courtesy of www.nebci,org