As an novelist, I often visualize the characters in my book using real-life acquaintances as models. Case in point: Sam Cohen. Eons ago, I was a member of the downtown YMCA, exercising to stay in good health.
I remember two people I’d often see at the gym. There was Sam, a strapping, six-footer and another was a wizened little guy who was 100 years old. He didn’t figure in the story, but I do recall his comment when I asked him what it was like to be 100. He said it was lonely because all of his friends were dead.
Sam was different. He was big-boned, angular, well-muscled, always pleasant, outgoing, joking, and fun to be around. I can still see his shiny bald dome with its little scars caused by removed skin cancers; and his generous-sized nose and hearty laugh. He was a warm-hearted “people-person.” When the narrative included him, I could actually see him. He’s long gone now. He helped me write my story.