Up, up and away
Here are two ideas that sort of come under the same umbrella.
Forty years ago next year, on 2 July 1982, a chap by the name of Larry Walters apparently attached 42 helium balloons to a patio (lawn) chair and rose to 16,000 feet during a 45-minute (illegal) flight.
Twenty years ago next year, also on 2 July, but this time in 2002, another chap, this one called Steve Fossett, became the first person to fly solo around the world in a hot air balloon.
What can you find out about either of these two men? Who were they? What did they do for a living? Why did they do these things? Was either of them a record-breaker? How did they live? How did they die? (Clue, both deaths were unusual.)
What would have happened if Larry Walters and Steve Fossett had ever met up? When Larry met Jimmy (Fossett’s first name was James).
What is the significance of the date? Or was it a coincidence?
Here are a few ideas off the top of my head:
- a brief history of air travel
- a brief history of hot air ballooning
- hot air balloon events around the country/world
- where to go to photograph/paint hot air balloons
- how many helium balloons would it take to lift a person/animal/child?
- ten brilliant balloonists
- alternative forms of air travel
- famous names in aviation
- spotlight on a helium balloon factory
- how can we make balloons more environmentally friendly?
Or, of course, you could simply set a story against a contest or an exhibition.
Fifty years ago next year, on 1 July 1972, the first Gay Pride march took place in England.
Were you there? Do you know anyone who was there? Could you write a nostalgic piece about this landmark event? Was there anyone famous there? Or have they become famous ever since?
What prompted the first Gay Pride march in the first place? Have we moved on? Did we stand still? Some places might even be considered to have gone backwards.
What happened? Where was it held? Where did it start? Where did it finish? Where did it travel through? You could write about any or all of these places.
Here are a few more ideas:
- ten top Gay Pride events
- the origin of the rainbow emblem
- five of the best gay villages in cities near you
- stories from around the world to celebrate Pride month
- seven gay-friendly bars in a town or city near you
- LGBTQ today versus 50 years ago
- a profile on one or three famous LGBTQ personalities or activists
- a profile on someone who works behind the scenes on behalf of LGBTQ
- when a family turns against someone
- when religion turns against someone
Again, you could also write a story that features a Gay Pride march or event, or the main character can be heavily involved in either the event or any other rights movements.
S/he could be the equal opportunities rep at a workplace or in a trade union. Or, s/he could be one of the haters.
Mass Moon Manhattan Marriage Ceremony
Forty years ago next year, on 1 July 1982, 2,000 couples were married in a mass ceremony held at Madison Square Garden in Midtown Manhattan. (I’m loving all of these Ms.)
Out of 4,000 people you might be able to find someone who was married there who can tell you more about it. Or perhaps you know someone who is or was a member of the Unification Church. It might even be you…
Does the Unification Church still exist? Has membership dwindled? Or is it simply more discreet? What effect has this one had on other religious movements? Can we still refer to this as a ‘cult’ or ‘the Moonies’, or is this too offensive now?
Here are some of my ideas:
- a potted history of the Unification Church
- a brief bio of Sun Myung Moon
- wedding ceremonies for members
- funeral ceremonies for members
- Korea under Japanese rule/the Korean war
- a travel feature on Manhattan or Madison Square Garden
- how the Holy Spirit Association for the unification of World Christianity expanded throughout the world
- other organisations inspired by the teachings of Moon
- five famous cults
- tragic events involving religious movements
And, of course, you can use this in fiction to your heart’s content.
Over to you…
… and don’t forget to come back and let me know if and what you did, and how it fared.