Thursday, May 24, 2007

Running With Scissors

Collage: an assemblage or occurrence of diverse elements or fragments in unlikely or unexpected juxtaposition

I’ve been making collages since my grandmother let me cut up old Sears catalogs and paste the bits into my own wishbook. For our twenty-fifth anniversary, I assembled a jumble of family pictures and every weird thing my husband has ever said.

Well, not every. The collage is only 3’ X 4.’

There’s a collage-y bulletin board over my desk that’s supposed to inspire me. On it right now, pictures of the following: my four kids, adorable Ioan Gruffudd, buttons, lilacs, hollyhocks, a blue door, and beach rocks. There's also a postcard from Graceland with Elvis’ favorite sweet potato pie recipe sent by daughter #2, a mini-collage made by daughter #3 and motivational quotes, some from fortune cookies. Inspired yet? I thought not.

My writing is a little like my Sears art and my bulletin board. There are unlikely juxtapositions everywhere. I love to do research and weave the findings in someplace. I’d like to find a use for Thomas Fletcher Waghorn’s overland route from England to India. It cut the journey from 16,000 miles to 6,000 miles, from three months to 35- 45 days. I imagined a disgruntled British army officer assigned to guard the return of a teenage heiress and her governess who would teach him a lesson or two. I even wrote the first eighteen pages. But I think even reduced, 6,000 miles might be too much for me to cover. I bet Loretta Chase could do it in her sleep, though.

What's your favorite motivational quote or inspirational object? What interesting fact have you learned researching your books? What would you like to know more about?

On my bulletin board: ancient Chinese secrets from fresh Chinese fortune cookies

As soon as you feel too old to do a thing, do it.

Your dream must be bigger than your fear.

Instead of worrying and agonizing, move ahead constructively.

Ignorance on fire is better than knowledge on ice.

Do you know the fortune cookie trick? Add the words “in bed” to the end of every saying. That works pretty well for the examples above!

And Lenora, do the Chinese even have fortune cookies?


lacey kaye said...

Hm...I forgot the question. Damn. This is why you don't go blog-hopping at 11:13 on a Friday night...

Maggie Robinson/Margaret Rowe said...

LOL, Lacey! You'll just have to come back! No procrastinating now, ;)

Gillian Layne said...

Ok, you know that "in bed" thing??

We were at the local Chinese buffet a couple of months ago, and the group at the table next to us were Very happy, and Very loud, and read about 17 fortune cookies at the top of their lungs, all adding the "in bed" with gusto!

Quite entertaining with the seven year old in tow. After my third death glare they quieted down a bit. Working in the schools does come in handy sometimes. :)

BernardL said...

Your 'in bed' addition is very funny. I sought a quote for a character in my latest manuscript attempt, and found this:

"War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself."

-- John Stewart Mills John Stuart Mill (20th May 1806 – 8th May 1873), a British philosopher

I thought perhaps it would be a good one to remember this Memorial Day.

Beverley Kendall said...

Wow, I've learned so much in my research it's truly staggering. I love my politics so I'm always interested in the workings of Parliament and what laws went into play which years. I also love to learn about the trades and when they emerged in England.

AprilsMom said...

Hi, Maggie! Hope you and your family are enjoying the weekend.

I tend to get lost in researching. One interesting thing leads to another, then another, then another, and the next thing you know, the sun is going down. Also the reason I love libraries and bookstores (and the reason The-Love-of-My-Life sighs when I say, "I'm going to drop by the library--only be a minute.").

Nothing important to say--just an unexpected juxtaposition. You always have such beautiful artwork on your blog, thought you might like to see a fun website:
(And NO, it's not what it sounds like!) He's a three-dimensional sidewalk chalk artist and is pretty amazing.

BTW, have you tried Elvis's sweet potato pie receipe? Probably pretty good, don't you think?

Maggie Robinson/Margaret Rowe said...

Beth, I lived a long, long time before I ever knew the "in bed" thing. I think in fact my youngest daughter taught it to me when she was 12!

Bernard, your contribution is poignant and perfect. And may I say how nice it is to get something from a male perspective? Welcome to Romance Land.

Beverley, politics? You are a better woman than I. Although my daughter is dating a guy who used to work in Barack Obama's Chicago office, so maybe I'll have political pull some day.

Aprilsmom, no to the pie as yet. But I love sweet anything is possible. I'll have to check out the art site. I am a frustrated artist as well as a frustrated writer. :)

Tessa Dare said...

Oh, I love the "in bed" thing!

I think I heard a story on the radio once about the guy in New Jersey who writes like 90% of all fortune-cookie fortunes. Modern-day Confucious.

My favorite quote, which I used to have in my FanLit sig line, is "Let's have an imperceptible party!" by Remy Charlip. I don't know why - I just never tire of that idea, the imperceptible party.

Terri Osburn said...

I don't know anything about inspiration but I have recently put up a bulletin board near my desk. I have all the little cards and notes that I received from my lovely Bon Bon sisters.

But right over my desk is my Ellora's Cave calendar. That will keep you in your chair. Doesn't exactly keep the eyes on the screen but butt in chair is a good start.

Ericka Scott said...

I love your collages. I'm soooo unartistic that even chopping up pictures and pasting them on a board would be disasterous for me!

I love research. . . but have to make a Herculean effort to "stay on track" and not get sidelined into irrelevant details.

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