Sunday, August 21, 2011

I need a little Superman

Before my mother retired, she worked as a graphic artist for Hallmark. I’d sometimes visit her at work at the corporate offices in Kansas City. One of the things I enjoyed most was seeing all the cool and interesting ways the artists decorated their work areas. My mother told me artists were encouraged to take creative ownership of their space. That the company believed a happy artist was a productive one.

While my mom didn’t have palm trees or funny dolls sitting her shelves or cartoons plastered everywhere in her cubicle, she did teach me the value of keeping your muse, well, amused. If she saw something - be it artwork or jewelry or some doodad - and it made her happy or inspired her in some way, she bought it. This is something I do, too.

My work space is covered in all kinds of things that delight me. And I don’t have a lot of trouble justifying the cost. In my defense, I usually go for inexpensive items. I think the most costly thing was my (fake) tiara. Yes, you read that right. A tiara. And yes, I occasionally wear it. Especially when I need to feel like Queen of the Page. Don’t judge me.

Lately, I’ve found myself in need of some serious inspiration. I recently finished a big project and I always experience a let down after completing a book. (It's like watching your characters go off of their own.) And I haven’t quite got my new project off the ground. I’m in the glorious/awful stage - when things are flowing in your head and you’re excited to get started but that blank first page is still winning the staring contest.

So in the last week, I treated myself to three, new “gifts to the writing gods.” Two were plaques. One says: I’m fairly certain that given a cape and a nice tiara, I could save the world. (Note to self - I just need a cape now.) and the other plaque says: I have flying monkeys and I’m not afraid to use them!

The third thing I bought was a Superman PEZ. He’s very cute, with the Christopher Reeve curl to boot. Given the fact my new project is gonna be extra tough (it tackles a controversial topic), I can definitely use a little Superman hanging around, waiting to swoop me up and fly when I fall.

Here’s my challenge to you: this week treat yourself to inspiration. Look around and find some little thing - it could be anything - that makes you happy or inspires you. And then put it in your work area. Remember, you deserve it. A happy artist is a productive one.

If you feel like it, please come back and tell me about it. I'd love to hear from you!



  1. Great post, Car. I love your idea of collecting things to inspire your writing. I tend to collect quotes in my notebook. I also have a few personal mementos/photos pinned to my bulletin board so they won't get lost in the mess of my desk. Some examples: a photo of my mom when she was a little girl, a postcard from one of my crit partners, one of Debbie Ohi's cartoons...Wow, thinking about these things is making me feel like organizing them.

  2. This is a great challenge. I don't have a very good writing space, but it is very seaworthy right now: beach pictures, a photo of my daughter clamming, painted bottles and a lighthouse. I also have a box of pencils that say "Inspiration comes from working every day." Back when I had an office, it was crazy: Pokemon cards, comic strips, stuffed comic strip characters, and a plastic Goddard. Come to think of it, I need to pull Goddard out of storage!


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