Reverb Broads 2011, December 26: Write about the things you collect, include photos, tell why these items are cherished by you? (courtesy of Catie at http://catiecake.typepad.com/catiecake/) and December 27: What does your office/home/bedroom tell others about you? (courtesy of Kristen at http://kristendomblogs.com/)
I collect a lot more things than I consciously set out to collect, which is why my house says things about me I’d rather not said out loud. But there are a few things I do set out to collect. They tend to fall into one of four main categories: toys, craft supplies, pictures, and books.
I like all kinds of silly toys, but I’m a total geek, so my toys tend to reflect that. Naturally, I’ve got a lot of Star Wars, comics, and movie-inspired toys. I also really like toys of things that wouldn’t normally be toys; I have a stuffed Anubis (the Egyptian god of the dead), a purple Lucite Ganesh statue, and a wind-up walking nun. I prefer monsters and villains over heroes, for the most part, so I have toys of my favorites, like Maleficent (the evil fairy from Disney’s Sleeping Beauty–in fact, one of them is our tree topper at the moment) and Japanese movie monsters like Godzilla and Gamera. And of course, I’ve got quite a few Muppets.
I’m also quite the craft ninja, and I’ve got a big wardrobe full of supplies, plus several large plastic tubs full of fabric, yarn, cross-stitch projects, jewelry supplies, and anything that might be improved by the application of hot glue. Crafters know that creativity could break out when you least expect it, and you’ve got to be ready.
I can’t imagine leaving walls–or any decoratable surface, really–blank, so wherever I am tends to be a visual feast of photos, posters, art, and anything else I can get to stick to a vertical surface. I’m a huge fan of Art Nouveau icon Alphonse Mucha, and Art Nouveau blends well with my passion for Celtic designs. I also like art that contains visual jokes or is multi-referential. For instance, I’ve got a huge bus-stop poster from France that shows a painting of Saint Peter (painted in rich Italian Renaissance style, with even an ornate gilt frame on the edges of the poster) as he reaches for a round of Brie floating above him. The caption at the bottom reads, “Il n’y a rien au-dessus de President” (There’s Nothing Above President [Cheese]). The absurdity of the elaborate art and the sacrilegious slogan (quite remarkable to find in a nominally Catholic country) tickle my funny bone. And I’m a very sentimental person who likes to be surrounded by loved ones, so I have photos of family and friends everywhere.
Finally, I would like to have ALL THE BOOKS RIGHT NOW THANK YOU. My husband actually asked me whether I wanted a Kindle for my birthday this year, and he really didn’t know whether I would enjoy it. I had to answer honestly: no, I prefer books. I can’t inscribe or annotate a download; I can’t press a favorite PDF into a friend’s hand with passionate entreaties to share my new find. I’m terrible about getting rid of books, too; I’ve felt less attached to some of my cats than I am to some of my books. I’ve got some incredibly cool autographed volumes, and some lovely old books (though I don’t collect old books just because they’re old, despite what my family thinks), but all my books are like beloved children. Sure, it’s time to let some of them leave the nest; I’m tired of carting hundreds of pounds of things I’ll never read again from residence to residence. But I’m rarely happier than I am in a room filled with books, those I’ve read and loved, and those that sit like treasure chests waiting to be discovered.
My desk at work reflects all of these things, except the books, because when I’m at work I’m not supposed to be reading anything but emails and roleplaying games. I’ve got my adorable sons, Captain Jack Harkness, The Beatles (that’s the corner of a black-and-white poster at the top right) and Eric the vampire to keep me company, and The Endless watch over my work from atop my monitor. My boys’ artwork and a picture of Padme Amidala in the style of Mucha adorn my walls, and a host of other little friends crowd around my keyboard.
What does it say about me? It says I’m a geek, of course. It says I haven’t grown up. It says I love color and cute men. It says my bosses are very cool and patient with my quirkiness. It says I’m ready for the kids who are sometimes in the office. It says I’ve got a lot going on. What it doesn’t say–but it’s good to know–is that there are always snacks in my top left drawer. Lots of tasty snacks.