A few days ago, my new online pal D. L. Strange (otherwise known as Strange Fiction) reflected on, among other things, the “motivational tools” on her desk – you know, the inanimate objects and spiritual totems that comfort and inspire us writers – whenever we feel less comforted and inspired than we should. The post urged me to recall all the writing spaces I’ve had over the years – from the childhood desk that Hurricane Katrina destroyed to the folding table that I now cart around the country. In turn, I began thinking about all those blessed little objects that have become as critical to my sanity as that infernal volleyball, Wilson, was for Tom Hanks’ lonely character in Cast Away.
One of my favorites is Harold, a clay good-luck elephant that my kitty, Ruby Azazel, “gave” me this past Mother’s Day (after, of course, Dan had purchased him at Marie Laveau’s House of Voodoo on Bourbon Street). Here’s Harold in all his auspicious glory:
Another inspirational totem on my desk has been with me a lot longer. Years ago – when I was still a minor living under my mother’s roof, she and I went to a jewelry trade show, where I stumbled upon a Japanese figurine with a rotating head. Although it was only recently – after nearly two decades of owning him – that I named him Takara (after one of the characters in my novel, Hollow Souls), he’s done much to comfort and inspire me over the years. If for no other reason than that, whenever I’m feeling stressed by looming deadlines, I can simply rotate Takara’s head and be soothed by his “serene” face.
Likewise, when I’m frustrated by someone or something – and feeling impotent as always – I just have to rotate his head the other way – and it’s Takara’s “angry” face that motivates me.
Of course, when all that fails, I just turn to that photograph of me and my hero, Willie Nelson. Thinking of the legacy he’ll one day leave behind... and how much he and his music have always inspired me, I remember that dreams often do come true and all I can do is keep working toward that goal.
Thanks, D. L., for the inspiration.
So, what about the rest of you? Do you rely on such sacred objects from time to time? If so, what are they and how long have they been with you?
3 hours ago