Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Inspiration comes in many forms, mine required a cabinet

cream in pink and royal blue
So I am sitting at my kitchen table wondering what I am going to write this post about and feeling very uninspired.  I looked around, and well, inspiration was sitting right before my eyes. Maybe I had to look a little to the left, but it was right there.

A couple of years after my father passed away, my step-mother (essentially the only mother I have had) decided it was time to distribute the family china.  I sat there and realized I had been married nearly thirty years and not only did I not have a china cabinet, but I also owned just one piece of china, a nested tea set given to me by my Swedish grandmother for a wedding gift. 

My parents had two china cabinets and four sets of china from having both been married previously.  Additionally, they had each received sets from their own parents.  Suddenly I had a tea set and a 10-piece place setting plus various accouterments; the place settings were my mother's (she died when I was a baby), and the other was my grandmother's which had been given to my father when she was scaling down her quite sizable china collection. I had gone a long time without china and wasn't sure what I would do with them, perhaps leave them wrapped in tissue inside sturdy boxes.

My husband's solution was to take me looking for an appropriate display cabinet.  Nothing seemed to fit our taste nor our pocketbook which was not willing to stretch far for something we on our own would not have purchased.  We went to used furniture shops and then finally an antique shop where we found the right cabinet.  Once it and the china were brought together and placed in my kitchen, I learned what my unexpected possession was for.

pink ribbons and roses
Each day I have sat at the table drafting my second, third and now fourth book.  When I get stumped, I glance over at that piece of furniture, then through the curved glass doors of the hutch.  Those delicate cups, soup bowls and teapots always have something to share with me.  They provide glimpses of my mother and father as they selected the roses and ribbon pattern in cream and pink.  I imagine my father nodding at the one that made my mother's eyes fill with light.

Japanese tea
Or the tea set of Japanese porcelain glints beneath the shadow of the wood lattice. My grandmother was a solid Swedish lady who loved to make braided rugs, crochet, and knit.  Maybe it was the hand-painted cherry blossoms and ladies in kimonos which held her appreciation.  My grandfather died the year my husband and I married, and when she came to visit, she had her first opportunity to meet him.  She had suffered a stroke many years earlier and still struggled to speak.  I remember her puzzling out the means to say, "Good man," and she squeezed my hand.   Then from a box she pulled out that nested tea set and showed me how to properly display it.

My books don't have any tea sets in them, but they are filled with family love that is as delicate as china teacups bearing beautiful ladies in green kimonos and sweet bud roses on pink ribbons.

And that's my post.  Inspiration comes in many forms, and it is amazingly personal and can take up considerable room in one's life or kitchen.  What inspires you?  What gives you glimpses of the muse that feeds your writing.

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