Posted by Lynne Griffin
It was sky blue satin with the words I love you stitched in black across the center. I kept my little heart-shaped pillow in a drawer in the kitchen, where my mother let me have all manner of child's play. Things to keep me occupied while she cooked our family meals. My precious pillow was my birthday gift to every family member when his or her special day arrived. I'd give it away, only to take it back the next day. My gift giving skills needed work.
Skunkie replaced my pillow as my beloved object; parenting experts like me call him a transitional object. My stuffed animal was all soft black fur and had the signature white stripe down his back. His face was sweet and loving. When I later found out real skunks true reputation, I was amused, thinking about all the years I fearlessly hugged mine tight.
Comfort items. Loveys. Transitional objects. To a child, these things offer security. Literally and figuratively, they provide something to hold on to. Is it any wonder that in an industry where insecurity and self-doubt can run high, that I've had cherished items that I keep to see me through to getting an agent, to signing a contract for a book deal? Or two.
More than two years ago now, together with my friends at the Writers' Group, I attended a talk given by an agent who acquired popular nonfiction and literary fiction. This gracious woman invited all who attended her workshop to submit to her, when each writer felt their work was ready. I kept said agent's business card in a prominent location on my desk for five months. Each day I'd look at it, thinking at least I had one agent who would look at my work. Her business card was a talisman, my lucky charm.
Later I did submit to her and she did offer me representation. Though she isn't the agent I signed with, I will always hold her in high regard. She was kind and told me loads about the industry--and she gave me hope in the form of a business card.
I'm not a superstitious person, so I don't believe my success is tied to any such object. Should I lose the business card, or my little pink deli ticket, or the birthstone necklace I treasure, the one just like the jewelry worn by a character in Life Without Summer (the last two talismans deserve their own posts) I would be fine, I'd sleep at night. These tangible items merely give me comfort, they let me believe that some day my dreams will become, like these trinkets, touchable, substantial, real.
As I write, I can tell you that the business card has been safely tucked in a drawer, its job fulfilled. The little pink ticket has been placed in a baseball card protector, courtesy of my sweet son. And the necklace is in my jewelry box--you'll see me wearing it on book tour. My latest talisman sits in a paper holder on my desk. It's a small poem torn from a newspaper by my father, sixty years ago. Titled, My Wonderful One, I found this yellowed clipping in a letter he wrote to my mother. I'll include it somehow in my work-in-progress. For now it offers me hope that I will finish my next novel. That my story will find its way to readers. It's tiny and seemingly unimportant, but it spurs me on. It helps me believe.
Thursday, March 06, 2008
Posted by Lynne Griffin