Monday, March 21, 2011

Collecting or Hoarding?

First things first... my secondary character Rebecca Leighton Burke is blogging about sisters - Jaymie Leighton in particular and her love life or lack thereof - over at Killer Characters today... check it out!!

Now... at what point does a collection become a mania, a dangerous hoarding problem?

I guess I'm interested in that distinction for a couple of reasons. One, I share the 'collecting' mania with the lead character of Vintage Kitchen Mysteries, Jaymie Leighton. Like her I collect vintage cookware and utensils, old linens and old cookbooks. But I generally know when to walk away, as I did on Friday, when I was in a thrift store and managed to walk away from two lovely Pyrex bowls, a red and a yellow from the Primary Colors collection. Of course, the reason it was so easy to walk away is, I suspect they are not really old. The glaze was too good, the red wasn't the right red, and the yellow bowl should have been blue, in that size. Also, I did buy a Pyrex gravy boat and tray and some Johnson Brothers 'Friendly Village' pieces. I'm collecting Friendly Village one piece at a time.

Side note: how can you tell if your Pyrex is really vintage? Here is much that you need to know, when collecting Pyrex.
Pyrex Love FAQ

But back to the hoarding question; I don't have room for everything in my cupboards or even in the Hoosier cabinet, so there are always stray bits of my collection on counters or the kitchen table. Linens, too... my linen closet door won't close.

I'll admit right here that I can't watch those hoarding shows (like 'Hoarding; Buried Alive' on TLC) because it gives me the icks. But that's because the places are always filthy, and I get itchy just thinking about it. I'm not the best housekeeper in the world, but I have my limits.

So... hoarder or collector? You'll be happy to know TLC's site has a quiz about hoarding, (click here) though it doesn't really answer the 'hoarder or collector' question. Based on most of the factors though, I am just a collector whose collection is a leeetle too big for my available space. That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.

My second reason for an interest in it is that I am using a hoarder as a character in Book Two, Bowled Over. Jaymie has been accused of hoarding by nitpicky-neat sister Becca, and is questioning her own love of 'stuff', but when she comes across a true case of it, she knows she's not a hoarder. Not yet, anyway! LOL.

Seriously, though, true hoarding is a psychological condition that can become dangerous if the house is so congested that the person who lives there can't move around, is in danger of tripping, or if the place is dirty. Have you ever seen a place like that?

Monday, March 7, 2011

My Writing Heroes - Sara Paretsky

Hardball by Sara Paretsky

I love to write and read cozy mysteries, but there is another side to my reading taste. I love the steelier 'female private investigator' school of writing exemplified by Sara Paretsky's 'V. I. Warshawski' books and Sue Grafton's 'Kinsey Millhone' novels. Right now I'm reading 'Hardball', by Sara Paretsky and loving it. I love the way she works history and a powerful social agenda into her work.

So imagine my excitement today to find out that Sara Paretsky has a blog! In it, Ms. Paretsky shares portions of her new writing, chunks of the latest V.I. book.

And in other good news, Sara has been given the use of the handle @VIWarshaski on Twitter, a gracious thing indeed when you realize that the young lady who had been using it was tweeting about literature, pop culture and much more, from India. She had nothing to gain by giving Sara back the rights to her Twitter alter ego, but she did it anyway.

I'm off to 'follow' VI, and to finish reading Hardball.