“Do you know," Peter asked, "why swallows build in the eaves of houses? It is to listen to the stories.” ~ J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan


Talismans & inspiration & baby blue shoes

The lovely, lovely Katie keeps telling me I have to be who I am.

I bought this pair of baby shoes for my cousin's daughter, way back 3 or 4 years ago when she was expecting Miss Kaylee. She never got them because I couldn't bear to part with them - their pale, pale, pale blueness made sure of that. They hang in my "studio" space, in my own version of where women create. Inspiration. I pay attention to these shoes every day, truly, truly, even the days I do nothing.

Inspiration is a funny thing - a color here, a shape there, a sound in the background, or more likely for me, silence in the background. I am becoming more comfortable writing here in this little area, on this little laptop with the keyboard that has arrow keys where I expect the backspace & delete keys to be, and while answering emails just a bit ago, I found myself pausing to play with the words in a word-bowl sitting next to me, and suddenly found I had composed a page for my constantly ongoing, perhaps never-ending collage book.

The table at which I'm sitting is a table I bought the weekend after my father died - that means I've had it 12 years this month. I'd gone antiquing & remember how the music in one of the stores almost reduced me to tears, but the shopping for antiques comforted me. I brought the table home, stripped it & painted it white; the painting was soothing - it always is for me. But now the table is - yes - a pale baby blue. On it sits a celadon bowl, in which there is another bowl, an older, heavy, creamy white bowl. In that bowl sits a piece of pottery I bought for 25 cents years ago at a flea market - a dull creamy taupe color, an awkwardly egg shaped bowl. the top lopped off to be used as a lid, a broken-beaked bird sitting atop it all. The bottom bears the maker's name - Petra, thank you, wherever you are - and inside are white berries & the feet I accidentally broke off a white Buddha. The white bowl is also home to a white abalone heart, 2 arrowheads, a silver flip-flop charm, and 3 necklaces with broken clasps - all silver & beads; my favorite made of porcupine quills, which the ever-wonderful Michael bought, thinking perhaps he'd give it to his granddaughter for Christmas, but when I saw it, I took it. I'm quite sorry, Sarah, but I had to have it, and you were really too young at the time to appreciate how very wonderful it really is.

Next to the celadon bowl is a tiny lidded bowl from somewhere in Central America - Lulu gave it to me after she'd returned from one of her annual treks. It's handpainted - dark blues, butter yellow, olive green, a pale melon color I can't name. It holds an abalone moon & a tiny, tiny bean from India - I've had it since I was teenager - which has been hollowed into a container; it has an ivory lid & contains 3 unbelievably teeny, teeny handcarved ivory elephants. Perhaps not really ivory, but that's what the package (long since lost) said. I am quite amazed I still have this little thing, and am always surprised when I open the bowl & find it again.

Katie is right - I have to just be who I am, and write what I write, and paint what I paint, whether it fits into any particular niche or not - yes, I worry about that. All these little things around me say the same thing, all gathered & given over the years, all sitting together quite beautifully. They are inspiration, talismans.

Oddly, so many are broken.
Paula S. will appreciate that.


  1. Inspiration
    are pieces of life
    broken off and waiting
    to be used again.

  2. I am grateful to have discovered your blog through tangobaby. You write beautifully, honestly.

  3. It's wonderful that you have all of your favorite pieces together, rather than scattered throughout your space(the pale baby blue table sounds heavenly). You've inspired me to gather my meaningful items together, too, and maybe they will all draw up, in one collective breath, a well of inspiration that I've been sorely lacking these long months! I hope it works.

    I'm in a sort of living space visual 'panic' ~ the other night I took everything off of the dining room walls because I just couldn't look at the same things anymore. I am going to start rearranging my creative space today! Thank you!! :) Cindy

  4. jfrancis - Thank you.

    Gabby - You are too kind, but I like it anyway! :) Thank you!

    Cindy - Oh, you should check out the link to Where Women Create in this post - on the word create. It will make you salivate! LOL!
    I understand the taking everything down thing - I think it helps. When you start putting things back, you see them anew, differently. You get new eyes!

    :) Debi

  5. All your bits and pieces add up to something truly beautiful...:)


  6. It's funny what people are drawn to, and what they keep. And the reasons behind it. It is often the feeling they had that day that drew them to it like a magnetic force. Some are celebratory. But all are pieces of magic.

  7. An abalone moon...a porcupine quill bead...a tiny bean hollowed out with three teeny tiny carved elephants...I am trying so hard to IMAGINE what these cherished trinkets look like. I find myself wishing I could actually see them.
    Such intriguing things! No wonder you treasure them!

  8. I'll bet your spaces are places in which someone could wander and be infused in all kinds of wonder, looking at the many treasures you have collected. Much like shopping in a new store in a new part of town you've never been to before where every little object in that store is competing for your loving attention.

  9. Do you know how much I love you for buying baby shoes that you couldn't bear to give away?

    This poetic tour of your sacred space was inspiring. I feel delighted with the pictures you have placed in my head. I feel compelled to begin gathering my own treasures into one sacred space that I create.

  10. it all sounds very mysterious and colorful. i can't really see these things as i often do with your imagined imagery. but as paula said i wish i could see them. i love that relyn loves you for keeping those baby shoes. i understand why :)

  11. Celeste - All my bits & pieces. I like that. They are part of me. :)

    Brenda - Yes, they are all magic. They have the power we give them.

    Paula - Oh, those elephants! I cannot even remember where I found them, and yet here they are - still with me after all these years. It's quite amazing!

    Jaime - When Lulu comes to visit, down from the frozen Northlands, she wanders over to my shelves, my workspace, & starts checking for new things, looking for her old favorites. I never understood that until I read your comment. :)
    I am so used to these things being here, I forget how new they look to someone else.

    Relyn - Oh, those baby shoes! I think I knew when I bought them that I would keep them. LOL!

    Robin - I may take pictures. It is much less colorful than you think, but much more mysterious. :)


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