There are all these faces, and behind each one a brain, a mind, a life. Everyone has a story, and writers seek to tell them. Call it fiction, sure, but I think you'd be hard-pressed to find a writer who succeeds (if it is indeed to be called success) in divorcing himself from himself in his stories. What is fiction but seeking the truth within the structure of a supposed lie?
I just read Dan Chaon's You Remind Me of Me. It jumps from time periods, back and forth, weaving apparently unrelated people's stories until they finally intersect (no spoilers here, I promise), as the reader of course knew they always would. What was fascinating to me, both as a reader and a writer, was how interested in his people Chaon managed to make me--people whom in real life I would probably never even notice or perhaps encounter. I hate to say that; as a writer, it's surely my responsibility to notice, to consider, to imagine. But in the course of my daily trajectory, I have to admit my eyes slide past many faces, maybe even most. The guy behind the counter, behind the wheel of the car behind mine, the guy behind the register ringing up my bread and milk.
But I do notice a lot, and I think, and wonder, and invent. Then I read something like Chaon's book, and I'm reminded the noticing is worth it. It can produce something of interest and value.
All these faces. Everyone has a story.