This blog follows how a romance novel set in the Borders of medieval Scotland is researched, written and hopefully *hopefully* published.

Join me on the writing journey and get inspired to try writing a little romance into your own life!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Sunday Scribblings Prompt: Collector Personality

This week's Sunday Scribblings prompt was: Collector Personality. Well, no need for fiction here--I AM a collector. Always have been. If you saw my kitchen today, you'd think I was a collector of apples. But that's only circumstance. It is harvest-time, after all ;-).

I come by collecting quite honestly. My father collected hobbies. He was a photographer, jeweler, poet, scuba diver, swordsmith and herbalist.

My aunt collected cats. Yes, she was a librarian, and single. No joke.

At first I collected odd friends. There were several with messiah complexes. Others were martyrs and habitual victims (what fun they were in the same room!). I had a small collection of minor sociopaths and a few narcissists for good measure. There were also those too complex to easily label.

Two of them were also collectors. One collected troubled young men, and the other collected little braided rings of hair that were keepsakes the Victorians had of dead loved ones. I preferred the troubled young men as collections went. They at least were alive (and far more interesting).

In college I collected stories. Folktales, fairytales, history and the odd circumstances of life that people dispersed during wayward conversation. And then there were the languages... Spanish, Russian, Chinese... a smattering of French and enough Arabic to insult a man (what can I say? I had fun friends with diverse backgrounds and fierce senses of humor). I collected every story in every language that I could.

After college I had a real job (not the collection of temp positions and summer work during my college years: cave tour guide, belt counter, mortgage filer, line worker for Godiva and Campbell, educational director at a private zoo). It provided nearly real money so my collecting changed. I collected things I thought would better define me as the "class" I hoped to fit into more comfortably. I had Swarovski figurines, pearls and amber in both red and royal.

But the beauty of those small riches did nothing more to define who I really was then, nor what I am today. They were nice with their glitter and gloss, but not ME. I was the teacher dealing with the brilliant thugs and broken dreamers. What good did paltry shows of money do in reality when you worked every day with kids kicked out of their trailer homes so their mama's new lover had a place for his illegitimate offspring? The Swarovski seemed cold, the amber lost its shine.

Don't get me wrong--I still hosted wine-tastings and traveled, but it meant increasingly less when I stared down such bleak reality day in and day out. Then I moved back north to be closer to "family."

My Swarovski and amber are still packed away in a box or two somewhere. I have no great urge to pull them out and display them.

So you may ask: Are you still a collector?

Oh, yes. I most certainly am. But now my collection is far less tangible. Yes, now I collect words on my way to collecting knowledge. You see, I was one of the "disenfranchised" youth. Powerless in my own society. I was not a member of a recognized minority, yet I took the brunt of the harassment in middle school as any African American in an all white school might have. Actually, I knew that kid in my school and he was treated with more respect than I rated.

But early on I heard that elusive promise: "Knowledge is power." And so I wanted to know it all.

From odd jobs most would scoff at to strange sayings that made the most sense in foreign languages--I sucked it all up. I read, I wrote, I explored multiple art and craft forms.

Now I still collect words like "abacot" (a word that may or may not exist) and "alexipharmic" on my way to hopefully finding "ataraxy" ;-). I still collect information. Some "useless" (or so some jokingly may say) but all fascinating and usable in the right context. For example, tomorrow I'm making a tarte tatin and will tell my guests the story of the French women and their flirting which supposedly caused it to be created in its most accepted form. Perhaps I'll write a short story about its legendary beginnings eventually.

My collections have changed, as I hope I have changed and grown. Personally, I look forward to many more years of collecting words and stories.... And hopefully using them wisely to craft my own true knowledge and better define myself and my small contribution to society.

Write on! ;-)


Redness said...

Sounds like you collected some of the duds I used to ;~) Isn't it marvellous to have survivied that phase. Love your writing!

Jo said...

Just fabulous.

And I initially read wordsmith and verbalist LOL.

Saoirse Redgrave said...

Yes, Redness--Survival of the fittest! ;-)

Jo--that's great that you saw those words that way! LOL

Take care, ladies!

tumblewords said...

I don't know why I laugh at your collection of friends except that it may very well have been similar to mine! And, for now, stories and words are the collectibles that fulfill! Nice post!

Saoirse Redgrave said...

Tumblewords, I have to wonder if everyone doesn't have a similar combination of friends at some point--different ratios, but similar types ;-).

Yes, words and stories now do it for me... My curiosity is nearly an obsession.

Take care!

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