May 11, 2016

Know me by my trinkets

I'm late! I'm late! I feel like The White Rabbit from Alice in Wonderland--checking his pocket watch and racing to catch up. I'm afraid the month has gotten away from me!

I'm sure I must've planned to write a wonderfully entertaining and perhaps even scholarly treatise on one of the many wonders of the romance genre, but, you know... Instead I thought I’d share some of the trinkets I keep around my desk. I will confess to magpie tendencies...I like shiny things. :-)

Not that these first items are particularly shiny, but hopefully they help to keep my writing shiny. They're notes I have stuck to the ancient air-conditioner above my desk: I can't remember who said the top one, but I believe I can attribute the middle one to Debra Dixon, and (maybe, perhaps) the bottom one to Kurt Vonnegut:

Emotional engagement with characters who matter; a plot full of twists and turns that grips and won't let go!

There should only be two choices for your characters -- sucky and suckier.

Someone should want something on every page -- even if it is just a glass of water.
I will confess to having one character who was rather parched in more than one scene. ;-)

This little collection here reminds me to ground my stories in the natural world. I’ve collected the shells from various beaches, which have had some significance for me—including Tuncurry Beach for Kit from The Secretary’s Secret, and Newcastle Beach for Bella from Bella’s Impossible Boss. The polished stone is the perfect colour of the Australian outback, which I channeled while writing The Nanny Who Saved Christmas. And that pig is a lucky charm that the perspicacious Annie West brought back for me from foreign travels. Whenever I’m struggling for words, he gets a tummy rub. :) Oh, and that feather? It reminds me to describe how falling in love can be like flying.

Here are my Buddhas that Mr Douglas brought home from a trip to Singapore. They remind me of the different stages of the writing journey. Better yet they remind me that I need to enjoy the journey as well as the destination. If only they could remind me to meditate a bit more often (but I guess one shouldn’t ask too much from their trinkets).

And just for fun, this is Petal. She holds my paperclips…and every good writer needs paperclips.

Most writers I think have a streak of superstition in them. Some of these items have become my lucky charms. Some, though, are just for fun. Who else out there has a favourite trinket or two too? :)


  1. Hi Michelle

    Oh I love those little trinkets keep sakes and notes I have a few things in my china cabinet that have come from family and friends and I often show them to the grandkids and explain where they are from and who bought them for me I have a doily that is made out of apple seeds my Mum bought it back from Tasmania for me years ago the seeds have been painted and the kids think it is funny I love my keepsakes :) Oh and my Dad always had stones in his pockets he called them his lucky stones and was always picking them up all shapes and sizes and colours and when he passed away he had a drawer full of them which we all split up and I have some of them in a drawer here :)

    Have Fun

    1. Oh, Helen, you just took me back! I used to love it when I was a little thing and my grandma would show me her treasures. Your apple seed doily sounds amazing! What an odd thing to have made...which, of course, makes it the perfect keepsake. :-)

      I love your story about your dad and his lucky stones. What a lovely thing that you and your siblings split them all up among you. I think that's a great way to be remembered. :-)

  2. Hi Michelle! How lovely to see what you've got on your desk. Fascinating to see the notes other writers post for themselves and their trinkets.

    Hey, I'm so chuffed my little good luck new year piggy keeps you company as you write. I've got a tiny menagerie myself on top of my hard drive. But the one that gets the most attention is a very cute, very round pink hippo who's smooth and cool to the touch and just perfect for stroking while I think!

    1. Love my good luck piggy, Annie. :-) And I love the sound of your smooth, round, PINK hippo! I subscribe to the theory of whatever helps get the words written -- and it seems that pigs and hippos have a proven track record. ;-)

  3. I have a collection also, Michelle, and many are gifts from special friends which remind me of them...and what a gift my life is. There is a heart made by a favourite niece many years ago and I have a collection of smooth, shiny stones which, like Annie's hippo, are perfect for holding and stroking while thinking about the next words. I have a snow globe with pictures of some special writing mates and that makes me smile. And a good-luck elephant and a ballerina and a wind-up punk mole which dances while singing Pink's "Get The Party Started."

    1. Oh, Bron, I'm quite sure that life is not complete without a wind-up punk mole!

      I love the sound of your collection. It occurs to me that writing is a very solitary activity, but the things that we surround ourselves with remind us of the people in our lives, and that we belong to a community. And that's a nice thought. :-)