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Friday, October 28, 2011
Friday, October 21, 2011
Yesterday I drove down to the older, original part of Alton, Illinois. The side streets in this part of the city I’m coming to call home are brick paved, flowing over hills that rival downtown Seattle and San Francisco for their grade.
I parked the car at one end of the street and headed out in search of antique shops. I wasn’t disappointed. My work in progress in my cozy series has a new shop in town, Thomas’ Fine Antiques. I needed to do some recon.
What I didn’t expect was to run into two and maybe three new characters for my book. My first encounter was a man sitting outside his store, enjoying what my mom always called Indian summer, a warm October day. One of those days that tries to fool you into thinking snow, ice and freezing temperatures aren’t weeks away. Anyway, sitting outside the front door was an original member of ZZ Top. Or he could have passed for one. My original impression of this man didn’t mix with what I found inside the store. Warm, cared for furniture, waiting for a new home. A soft side to this hard, rock biker dude with kind eyes.
Big find here? An old hotel or business switchboard with the wires and plugs still attached.
Going on down the street, I was amazed at the differences from store to store. From being well cared for like store number one, to a jumble of items, dirty and dusty, and unmarked. The next to last store was the most ‘retail’ focused. They’d decorated for Halloween, had lots of glass cases and every item was marked and marketed to its best advantage. Candles burned, music played, and the two men running the store were gracious and helpful. A couple I could see running one of my imaginary bed and breakfasts in my mystery series.
Of course, my characters won’t be the people I met on my walk. When I’ve let the muse play with their history and life stories, the original models will be just a memory. My characters will have their own thoughts, memories, hurts, and accomplishments. Just like the stores I walked through, they will have their own personality and feel.
Major find for the day? I bought a soup bowl in the same pattern as the china my mother gave me. Currently I only have serving pieces, gravy boat, bowls and platters. I guess raising five kids took its toll on the set. Now I have a soup bowl too.
What antiques do you have that you treasure?
Friday, October 14, 2011
Sunday, October 09, 2011
When I worked for the state, I used to get the upcoming holiday, Columbus Day, off. After my divorce, this was MY birthday day. My actual birthday is a few days earlier. I'd plan the day surrounded not by what needed to be done, but what I wanted to do.
Now that I work for corporate America, I find they don't hold Mr. Columbus in the same esteem as the governmental and banking systems do. His day, along with three other days I used to think of as holidays are now just another Monday.
So I carved out my own 'me' day.
Friday I visited our local art museum (all exhibits are free on Friday.) They had a Monet exhibit with the entire triptych (a fancy art word for set) of his water lily study. The local St. Louis museum owns one of the paintings; the other two were on loan. The sight was amazing.
I sat on the benches letting the painting talk to me and letting my muse listen. When I left, I had three new story ideas written furiously across my small notebook.
What I found most interesting was how the painting changed over time. They've punch holes (very, very tiny holes) in the canvas to reveal six or more layers of paint. And there are pictures of the first draft of the paintings showing what they looked like at first.
Revision. As a writer, that's where I find myself. Taking perfectly good stories, and trying to make them great. So the thought of Monet, standing in his studio, day after day for years, trying to determine if he was done, well, it's just chilling.
So I'm wondering about my readers? Have you ever carved out a 'me' day? Where does your perfect day lead you?