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    Wednesday, January 18, 2012

    What do You Collect?


    To some they’re creepy. To some they’re cute. To some they’re Ordinary Wizarding Levels, exams every Hogwarts student must take.

    I find them fascinating.

    And sometimes creepy.

    And sometimes cute.

    In all honesty, I can’t explain their appeal to me. I’d like to say something clever about owl symbolism. But I don’t think wisdom had anything to do with my impulse purchase of owl towels, or the incessant begging that got me my owl PJs for Christmas.

    And I certainly can’t claim any sort of dignity in this picture. I showed it to my kids and when Monkey laughed, Chunky leaped to my defense. “Don’t laugh at Mommy,” he told his older brother.

    “It’s all right,” I said, “Mommy is wearing an owl hat. You can laugh at Mommy when she’s wearing an owl hat.”

    Sometimes there’s an explanation behind why we like certain things. I know several people who love butterflies because they represent metamorphosis. My friend and critique partner, Beth Vogt, who gave me the awesome owl hat, loves hummingbirds and has a lovely reason for doing so.

    She isn’t fond of owls, however, after a particularly nasty one sprang from my imagination into the pages of my novel and made her skin crawl. I think giving me the hat was her way of saying she accepts me despite the crazy things I make her read. Either that or she wanted to see if I'd wear it to the next writing conference I attend.

    Another friend, also named Beth, who made my awesome steampunk owl bag, is all about octopi. She doesn't exactly collect them, yet. But she is developing her own line of steampunk baby accessories called Kinder Kraken. I hope someday to write children's stories about the adorable baby kraken she's created.

    Speaking of writing, as I said before, owls have already made it into one of my books. Yes, Blood Beak the owl is horrifying and unnatural not cute and cuddly, but I’ve already thought of another character, Woot the owl, who might make an appearance in a children’s book someday. And he WILL be soft and downy and squishy in all the right ways.

    I also collect ornate keys and love clocks, and I have stories brewing that involve those items. Even if at first we struggle to explain why we like a certain thing, if we reflect a moment we often discover that the object ignites our imagination or connects with our emotions.

    So I’d love to know, what do you like? What draws you to a shop window? What do you collect? Is there a specific reason or does it simply capture your fancy?

    And how do YOU feel about owls? Creepy? Cute? Equivalent to the SATs? Please share.


    Brandi said...

    Love this post! I collect steampunk-themed skeleton keys and fleur-de-lys symbols. To me, they represent the more ornate side of antiquity.

    Owls are beautiful, mysterious birds. Their big eyes are entrancing. I'd love to get an owl necklace to match my earrings (Think I could commission Donita, lol?)

    Oh, I need to talk to Steampunk Beth about octopi. I've been looking for an octopus pendant.

    Daphne said...

    I have noticed that I accumulate things that can hold liquid. Bottles. Pitchers, Watering Cans. Metal Teapots. Cool Looking Jars.

    Owls...recently when my family had a conversation about what kind of animal they would want to be, I said "owl". I said I would prefer to be more awake at night, stay mostly in my tree looking at stuff until I chose to move, then move swiftly to do only what I wanted (usually to get food) then go back to my spot. If others wanted to talk to me, they could approach calmly and quietly to my perch and I would either come to them or talk to them from where I was OK.

    My children had said that they wanted to be a gorilla and a baby elephant, each of which really wanted to "play" with their mommy. My husband said that there are many days that he comes home and he can see in my eyes that I am an owl who has been tossed around by a gorilla and an elephant.

    I am generally creeped out by all figurines, dolls, puppets, miniatures, and many images, so even owl ones fit into there.

    Linda B said...

    About owls: I think of them mostly as useful. I want to get fake owls to install in all my mulberry trees to see if that might result in my getting to pick an actual mulberry at some point in the future. In Zambia, owls are believed to be a really sinister omen, so if you are trying to protect your citrus crop, say, you are much more likely to be successful if you can get hold of a dead owl and hang it conspicuously from the branches of one of your orange trees.

    What do I collect? You’ll never guess. I collect teacups, tea pots, teaspoons, and tea warmers. I also collect all those things in Christmas ornament form. And yarn. I have an ever-growing yarn collection.

    If I could afford it, I’d collect fountain pens. And I’m very fond of ornate keys also. I just have one huge one and every time I look at it I just know there is a story in there somewhere.

    Beth K. Vogt said...

    Love the hat, E. Love the photo of you wearing the hat.
    Do not like Blood Beak the Owl. But then, no one should.
    And, yes, I collect hummingbirds.
    Very long and miraculous story short: At a time when I felt very alone and discouraged God sent a hummingbird as a reminder that he loved me. So, now whenever I see a hummingbird (real or otherwise) or hear a hummingbird, it's a reminder that God loves me.

    Debbie Maxwell Allen said...

    For me it's blue glass, vintage baskets, and teapots. Not sure if they've made it into my novels, though. But I do like owls. :)


    Donita K. Paul said...

    Ah, collecting things. Evangeline has some of the china teacups my mother collected. I collect any art (pictures, statues, jewelry) of animals reading books. I'll take some pictures to show them off.
    I like owls. I probably subconsciously fostered E's interest in them.
    Oh, Debbie, I collect blue glass. There isn't a prettier blue than the cobalt blue they use for glass

    Kay Day said...

    I want to collect goblets. I have 2.

    I love owls! I have always loved, loved, loved owls.

    Once, I was walking in a snow storm and looked up into a tree and a Big Horned Owl was staring down at me. It was SO COOL! And then I blinked because snow was getting in my eye and just like that he was gone.