DEBORAH CROMBIE: As you read this, I will be back in lovely London, staying in my favorite little hideaway hotel in South Kensington, trying to recover from jet lag before going on to events in Henley on Wednesday. In the midst of my usual frantic packing and last minute prep (does everyone else do that, or is it just me?) I was trying to organize my thoughts about what I needed to do the following week, when I will be back in London and doing some much-needed research for the book-in-progress. And I wondered what I might bring back with me that will keep me feeling connected to this particular book over the next few months.
Because it occurred to me that over the years, and the books, I have begun to collect what I think of as "writing momentos." Not that I haven't collected enough British things over the years! (We're not even counting the London Transport posters, or the teapots, or my photographer friend Steve Ullathorne's London prints. Or the generic things like handmade journals from Portobello Market , jewelry, hats, gloves, scarves . . .)
But rather things that are specific to a particular book. Touchstones. (On Friday, Louise Penny has some interesting things to say about how she stays connected to her books.)
There is the painted enamel canal-ware mug that I bought at the Canal Museum in London when I was writing Water Like a Stone. It now holds pencils and pens on my desk.
A scrap of framed chant manuscript, from A Finer End. A (rather cat-hairy) purple tartan blanket from the Scottish book, Now May You Weep. AND, although the bottles of scotch bought while writing the book have long since disappeared (mostly drunk by other people) I still keep a bottle of good scotch to remind me of those wonderful visits to the Highland distilleries.
From No Mark Upon Her and my time spent in Henley, I have a Leander pink hippo mug, and a Leander wooly hat, which I actually wore out sculling on the Thames. (But that's another story.)
So what do I want to bring back this time, to keep me centered in the current book?
A vintage Fender Stratocaster. Preferably Fiesta Red.
Somehow, I doubt that is going to happen. Sigh.
What about you, Jungle Reds and dear readers? Do you need things that physically tie you to your books?