I was sitting in the lobby of a nondescript hotel, waiting. The carpet was too loud. The music was too soft. Hotel lobbies often feel lonely, even when they are filled with people.

The story, in the script that I am writing, which I was thinking about to distract myself while I waited in the lobby, takes place in a warehouse at night.

I have spent most of my time writing novels, a form which allows length and depth. How do I give a character a captivating back story, depth, in just a few lines?

As I stared at the carpet in the lobby, a song by Jim Croce came over the speaker.

Did you know that hospitality carpeting is a whole separate category? I suppose buying carpets in such volume require different levels of service. I’ve since become interested in the choice of patterns presented in the hospitality carpeting catalogs. It’s like there are rules, a genre, that the patterns of hospitality carpeting adhere too.

Here’s a link to ‘Operator‘ by Jim Croce. If you don’t have 3:47 minutes to listen to the whole song, just catch the first 0:44 seconds. Croce sets up the main character, his former lover and best old ex-friend Ray in a few lines. A few seconds. Not only are the characters defined, he also shows the tension between them and the whole trail full of tears.

The carpet choices for rooms tend to have smaller and tighter patterns. The choices for lobbies tend to have larger and splashy patterns.

A story can be set up in a line. Maybe two.

‘Walk in the Park’, by Signature Hospitality Carpets, is similar to the carpet in the lobby where I sat, waiting.

Sometimes I think about writing a novel that tells the story behind a song. The best songs contain as much story as a novel. They trace the important parts to show you the shape, like ‘Reno‘ by Bruce Springsteen or ‘Your Ex-lover is Dead‘ by the Stars.

I listened to ‘Operator’ and I looked around the lobby again. I had a feeling I could sum up in a line. Maybe two.