When a Writer Looks to Craigslist for Inspiration

A writer with a sense of humor

After a long, hard week of being deadly serious, I’m in the mood for a little light-hearted writing. And it’s a fact that inspiration, and a glimpse into the lives of others, can be found in strange places. So it’s time for a look at Craigslist, that human to human emporium which offers everything you need for your life (be a wee bit careful about escort and massage services) and your home. Once again, I’ve got my finger on the pulse of American commerce, and you, dear reader, will be amazed to discover what you can acquire for short money if you’re willing to invest a little time and gas and you are very, very brave. If you don’t need furniture, hang around for a good laugh or some story inspiration, but be prepared to sigh about the state of education as the truth about folks’ communicative abilities is revealed, beginning with some classics to pique your imagination:

Chairs w/Arms on wheels

30” white malamute kitchen base cabinet

Wooden chicken table (I grew up on a chicken farm, but I don’t know what this is)

looking for its table?

And of course, the large, antique amour, which will probably be fine if you add a little viagra, and that mysterious item which “has lived in a dog house but never been used by pets.” An unwanted husband or wife, perhaps?

See, if you find yourself stuck in your writing, or bored at your desk, or you genuinely need a piece of furniture and you’re a thrifty Yankee like me…zip over to Craigslist for your area, where you may find some of the following delightful offerings:

Chinies planter with coy fish Do you wonder, as I do, how the owner knows these fish are coy? Maybe they’re just shy, or reclusive, or maybe they just don’t like the owner of this particular chinies planter.

An unlikely gang member

For mystery writers, this next item might be the thing you absolutely

Rival gang member

can’t live without. Or perhaps, the thing you can’t live with. In any case, it is great fodder for the imagination. Contemplate what you’ll encounter when you show up to view: Armed chair – $45 Will it have a Colt .45? Revolver? Does the type of weapon have to match the style of the chair? Do antique chairs carry antique weapons? And what, I wonder, (as my imagination soars) do all those IKEA Poang chairs carry when they go to war against the Pier1 Papasans? There are so many of these listed on Craigslist that I sometimes imagine a noirish (if somewhat sedentary) city where there are rival gangs…the Poangs and the Papasans, stalking the streets, vying for territory and superiority. Perhaps the armed chair belongs in the household which also features frying and cocking pans. Nice when the cookware can multitask.

Everyone needs this one: Unwanted Guest Chair – $20  As one poster writes, if you’re interested in this chair: Reply for detaols and horurs to view

Now, no apartment or dorm room is complete without a refrigerator. But amateur vendors do get a bit confused about the nature, and nomenclature, to be applied to this item. Thus we find the following: Two dorm type regrigerator  and 5 x 8 wool rug with fridge

Puts one in mind of the surrey with the fridge on top, doesn’t it?

Sometimes the offerings are downright scary. Would you want to let any of the following into your house? I’m betting not.

Contemporarily European Lather chairs; queen bed (mattress and hotspring); dustbean, wardrove, and dubei; self-feeding dog bowel.

How about a new Night stand, end table, and lamb? Antique Cain Whicker Chair (meanwhile, Abel has taken the horse and ridden away). Perhaps your home needs a Brown floor lamp with beans? Or a Cough $150  This is a lot of money for something you can get for free.

And you really don’t want this one. Just imagine what it might do if you let it into the house. Next thing you know, you’ve got fourteen children!
Klipan with Octoman $200

But sometimes, the offerings are so intriguing you just might want to try them out, just to see if your life might be transformed by the possession of these special objects. For example, how your nights might be different if you admitted this into your home:

Various badroom furniture

Or perhaps, life would be livelier if you had this, instead: Pair of Ultra-Swede lampshades Just think what Swedish lampshades might be like. Just imagine if they were twins?

And last, but not least, I leave you with the following mystery from Concord, Massachusetts, home of Emerson, Alcott, Thoreau. If you know what an Anwa is, this might be the furnishing for you:

Must go tall Anwa – $500 (concord ma)

And if you are one of those people with a kind heart and pity for abused and neglected furniture, furniture with a story, furniture which carries its past on its back like a camel, here are some “heartbroke to part with it” or “it is time for us to part” stories:

With a heavy heart, I’m selling an absolutely fantastic brown plaid retro armchair and ottoman set. This has been my favorite piece of furniture for the past few years; it is amazingly comfortable and perfect for studying, reading, watching tv, or napping. I’d like to sell it to someone who has a deep appreciation for ugly armchairs and will give it a great new home.

or this ad for a hammock:

This is the same one they feature every year at the beginning of summer just in time for the season and for Father’s Day. It has the full hollow cast iron base, the triple cord base net, the green/white striped cushion and pillow, and the green tent top for shade on those hot days. It’s in great condition. I bought it for my husband 5 years ago, but he left for another woman…. The cushions, net base and tent top have always been stored in a cool, dry basement to preserve them.

Finally, having acquired all those great new home furnishings, it may be that you will need a cleaner, and here is the guy for the job:

Have all of your household chores and cleaning done by an attractive, well-mannered guy in a skimpy, sexy outfit. I look great in briefs, boxers, a jock strap, thong or I will do all of your chores completely nude if you prefer. Imagine if you will, a 33-year-old graduate student cleaning your home or apartment wearing only boxers or a thong …and the best part is that you get to watch! Or have me scrub your kitchen floors in the nude. If you have ever dreamed of a man on his hands and knees scrubbing your floors while you and your friends watch, then here is your chance.

Let the possibilities soar!


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15 Responses to When a Writer Looks to Craigslist for Inspiration

  1. Gerry Boyle says:

    Gotta love it. Can’t wait until you wade into the craigslist personals, Kate. Now there is the stuff of crime novels.

    • MCWriTers says:

      Gerry…one of the exercises I give my writing students is to take two Harvard magazine personals ads and then have them write the first scene with the parties together. It’s really fun to see what they come up with, and, of course, fun to read the ads. Among my favorites, since every woman who advertises seems to be both brilliant and gorgeous and supremely accomplished, is the woman whose ad began, “I’m just as beautiful and accomplished as the other women here.”

      But my all time favorite is the guy who wrote, of his accomplishments, “able to burn chicken while doing the laundry.”

      Most of the Craigslist stuff is too racy for me…though I haven’t looked in a while. It may have cleaned up a bit!

  2. Deanna says:

    I have been laughing so hard my tummy aches. Thank you for this one.

    • MCWriTers says:

      Sometimes, Deanna…you just need a good laugh. And we don’t want to take ourselves too seriously, now, do we?

  3. Lise says:

    This is hilarious, Kate. I have to read the classifieds more often! I had no idea nude graduate students were available for scrubbing (ooh, syntax make that even better!). I do sometimes read the local ads for giggles. Seems like there’s always a lost wedding ring or two.

  4. Sarah Graves says:

    Could it be…an armoire?

    • MCWriTers says:

      Oh, Sarah…I expect it is. I actually have a whole collection of things like that. I’m always shooting off to look things up.

      But I love imagining settling down for sleep on my mattress and hotspring, in a room furnished with badroom furniture. In anticipation of an exciting night indeed. Though that hotspring might be bad for the rest of the furniture.

  5. LOL, Kate. If you can believe it, I have never typed the acronym LOL before. But this is too much.
    Say, I always thought people from Maine were much more literate than that.

  6. Carol-Lynn Rössel says:

    I love the last bit, the Craigslist ad for the cleaner. Hewould have been just the ticket for my ex-mother-in-law who died last year, at 100. She, often, until her last days, asked for a young male handyman in skimpy clothes to do things like climb up on benches and install curtains. She preferred it, actually, if he did not speak English. Don’t believe me? Ask my daughter. And my grandchildren.

  7. MCWriTers says:

    Carol-Lynn…she must have been a character.

    I actually like imagining this guy but I don’t think I’d want him in my house. I don’t want my cleaners to be a distraction.

    Like the does not speak English bit, too. Talk about totally objectifying.

  8. Coco Ihle says:

    Thanks, Kate! I haven’t laughed that hard in ages!!!!! Most people have imaginations, but we mystery writers have well develpoed imaginers! Is that a word? Ha, ha, ha!

  9. MCWriTers says:

    Coco…glad you liked it. I’ve been feeling way to serious lately. It was time to have some fun.

  10. super funny! love it, Kate!

  11. Charlene Clemons says:

    Thanks, Kate. That’s the best laugh I have had all morning!

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