A Cabinet of Curiosities

I’m a natural born collector. My kids refer to it as orderly hoarding, light on the “orderly”. But I just learned that it was an early iteration of social climbing: he with the weirdest collection of artifacts mounts the higher rung on the social ladder. Well, I doubt I would win any such awards. I came about my collections as the child of antique shop owners. The weirder, the more I like it. Sometimes, I forget what I’ve collected, like last week.

The item in question was a plastic container full of teeth. No, these are not the souvenirs of my victims. (Those are tidily buried in the backyard.) No, these were from the clean-out of the home of a taxidermist. And there weren’t just teeth. There were other small animal bones in the collection. I must have decided at the time, (probably wisely) that there was no good way to curate this collection, so they are still in the attic, for some poor, unsuspecting future person to find.

A Cabinet of Curiosities – I think that’s the best description of my office. I try not to inflict my collections on the other people in my family, thus I try to relegate it to my studio. (The exception to the rule, the boar skull in the library. Note to self: move boar skull to the studio.)

I’ve been curating my collections this week as I work on another animated book trailer, so this is the result, a cubby/cabinet of curious little critters, as well as a storyboard for a graphic novel.

You may have seen the animated book trailer in a previous post, but in case you missed it, here ’tis. (Okay, not. Technical difficulties. Note to self: update Adobe products.)

I’ll post updates, but my Word Crone Cottage (my office/studio) will have a small feature in an upcoming issue of Where Women Create in December, so I won’t post too many spoilers. It’s just a glimpse into the brain of a mystery writer – the weird collections that make it tick. Enjoy.


An Autumnal Mystery

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The mystery in question is this: why, when my adult children ask me what I’m up to, and I tell them, “I’m cutting off the heads of small animals,” (albeit, plastic animals, but they did not know that) why are they not disquieted by that? In fact, the eldest child responded with, “Mom, I think you need to start another book.” Cheeky kid. (Okay, in all fairness, my internet search history could get me arrested for crimes I never committed. I write MYSTERY, after all.)

Image courtesy of The Graphics Fairy!

It all began with a game of CLUE. I’ve always loved games with colorful boards. Rather, I love architecture, building, design, and my favorite games as a child were Clue (because of the beautifully colored boards, the rooms, the floor patterns, etc., and LIFE, with its 3-D bridges, hills, houses, and cars. It was less about the game, more about driving little cars over hills and bumps, collecting little peg babies, and a husband. So I thought, hmmm, I used to love dollhouses as a child. Of course, I had neither the skill nor the follow-through to create anything of beauty, but I’m older and have a bit more patience and I’m between books. So why not create a 3-D Clue board?

I found my gameboard surface, an old oak table top. It’s divided into rooms and hallways and square tile spaces in keeping with the original game, and my plan was to work on and complete one room per week. HA!

So although I have the walls for a study papered, bits of study-like furniture built, and miniature books for shelves that went kind of wonky, I diverted with the thought, “Oh, what if I cut the heads off of little plastic animals, paint them, glue on some tufts of sheep’s wool, and make some cute little trophy heads for the wall? I know what you’re thinking. Anyone who’s ever played a game of CLUE or grew up watching The Beverly Hillbillies knows that the trophy heads go in the Billiard Room, not the Study!

“It was done in the Billiard Room, by Mrs. Partridge, using a pair of tweezers and super glue!”

On the other hand, maybe my kid is right, and I need to just start the next book… Hmmmm….