Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Whimsical Wednesday: Inanimate Muses

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?

13 comments:

Lazy Writer said...

Willie Nelson? Wow! I grew up listening to him because my dad loved his music. He's awesome. And, no, I can't say I rely on any sacred objects. Maybe, my I-Pod...does that count? Music is what inspires me.

Laura Martone said...

Cool, Susan! I love finding fellow Willie fans! And, yes, of course, music counts. Naturally, being a Willie fan, I find music inspiring, too, but objects help me for some reason. Guess I'm a tangible sort of gal.

Strange Fiction said...

Very cool totems Laura! Hmmm..apart from 'shiny crumpled cup', I have a couple pens, a battery and a flowery tape measure on my desk at the moment. I think it's time to re-deskerate.

I love Willie! He's the best company ever on road trips!

Laura Martone said...

Teehee. "Re-deskerate" - I like that, D. L. Your "shiny crumpled cup" is pretty darn cool (poor cowpoke!), and I've never seen a flowery tape measure before... Wish I had a few more totems on my desk, too, but it's already cluttered with the laptop, the lamp, the speakers, the ubiquitous notebooks and papers, and, of course, the kitty (and, being kinda round, she takes up a lot of space).

Bane of Anubis said...

Willie Nelson -- oh man, that man is bucket of beetles -- freakin' hippy ;)... I've never had much in the way of decoration, though I do like sitting in particular rooms where the natural light comes in just so and there's always a gentle breeze.

Laura Martone said...

Hey, don't mess with my Willie! He's a freakin' national treasure! And don't you forget it.

But seriously, I like sitting in breezy, naturally lit rooms, too. Even better, I like lying on my summertime hammock. Talk about breezy and well-lit.

Strange Fiction said...

I love flowers but as a rule I'm not partial to flowery things..however..it is the one tool I own that the boys don't pilfer :)

Stop by my blog when you have a chance.. something there for you to pick up :)

Stephanie Faris said...

I don't have anything like that...I need something!

Laura Martone said...

D. L. - I can totally see that... the girlier something is, the less likely the men-folk will swipe it. Hehe. I'll be by your blog in a little while... have to help the hubby with dinner first.

Oh, Steph, you DO need a totem or two... they're ever so inspiring!

Lori said...

Hi. I'm always looking for inspiration anywhere I could find it. I keep a cork board in front of my desk on which I pin photos, daughter paintings and magazine cut-outs.

But I love your Takara! He's really cool.

Laura Martone said...

Hi, Lori. I firmly believe that inspiration is everywhere, if we only keep our eyes, ears, minds, and hearts open to the possibilities. Thanks for sharing your wellspring. Cork boards are awesome! Oh, and thanks for the kind words about Takara - he's a loyal little totem.

Ink said...

I have a three-headed Norwegian troll from the Trollstigen. I was... how old? 12 or 13? Family vacation in Scandinavia (which I shall never forget). And it reminds me of my Dad. Plus, you know, it's a three headed troll, so it has to be cool.

Laura Martone said...

That's awesome, Bryan! Thanks for sharing your troll with us - it's especially cool that it reminds you of your dad (at least, I hope that's a good thing). I would love to see a picture sometime... does it ever visit your bookstore?

P.S. Did you see my reply re: Katrina books? 1 DEAD IN ATTIC is a good choice, too - especially since it's from a New Orleanian's perspective.