Wednesday, 22 October 2014
A Material Girl
My name is Shawna, I am a material girl and I really like fabric too. Okay, I know that was funny only to me and doesn't even really make sense unless, like me, you grew up referring to fabric as 'material', as in "I am going to the store to buy some material to make a dress." I love fabric, I love textiles of all sorts though I am not much of a sewer. I mainly mend things and imagine that I am going to sew new things or re-fashion old things. So I am inclined to buy textiles simply because I fall for them, but I try to be practical and buy them already made into something. Something, such as a shawl or throw. I have more than I need of those if you consider that they are for keeping a person warm but to me they are draped art and so I drape them all over. I recently bought another one and am staring at it as I write, which is what has me pondering this whole material concept right now.
I had a small holiday, a trip to Victoria, and despite being exhausted I enjoyed myself very much. Although I cannot do what many would on a holiday, I do not see any reason to deprive myself of one, even if I have to rest in the hotel for half of it. My favourite kinds of holidays are generally of two types. One is where I go to a lovely spot such as the seaside and stay in a place with a view and enjoy the fact that I have gotten away to a beautiful patch of nature and do not have to cook any of my own meals. I would probably not object to the warm sunny tropical beach type of holiday but I have never experienced one yet. The other type is a trip to a city, where I happily feel anonymous in a crowd and yet go about smiling and talking to everyone like the small town girl I am. On both types I am more focused on being than on doing. I just like to be there and do not set myself an agenda of things to do. This has much to do with not having the ability to spend a day touring, walking, hiking, climbing or rushing from interesting site to interesting site. It is imperative that rest is incorporated into my day. It is imperative that I find gluten free food. It is imperative that I buy books. Oh wait, no that last one is not imperative, it is just highly likely.
On the second sort of holiday, such as the one I have just had in Victoria, I enjoy wandering about the city and I am inclined to purchase things, as any material girl would. I like souvenirs of my trips but do not have a fondness for snow globes or keychains. I am also not likely to be holidaying in a location that is in any way exotic from my point of view. In other words, I am not gallivanting around the globe collecting treasures from various cultures and decorating my walls with masks, my shelves with carvings or draping my furniture with textiles from the souk, though perhaps if I were living out life in a different body and with a different bank account I might, because whenever I am in a city I head to the fair trade shops and buy something from far away places. Then I go to the bookstores. Round this out with an exploration of cafes and pubs at meal times and half my day resting in the hotel reading one of the recently purchased books and you've got a good picture of the sort of holiday I take.
Some people prefer to purchase experiences. I am not averse to those at all and will happily go whale watching or to an art gallery, but I will still want to come home from my holiday with things, and I can't come home with a whale as it's just not done! Instead of feeling guilt about materialistic tendencies I have decided to look at it differently. I am a person who is drawn to talismans. If I am out in nature I will come home with rocks and branches and leaves. If I am in the city I will come home with books and textiles. It is even likely that I will come home with purchases that could have been made in my own home town. I know that some of you will shake your heads over that but it makes sense to me. When I look at that book or that shawl I am reminded of a happy time I had, and I have something that continues to bring me pleasure repeatedly, which is more frequently than a one time experience does.
Yes, you are right, I did buy a massive pile of books on Tarot and assorted pagan issues, both mythical and anthropological. The joy of being a fiction writer is that I get to research different subjects that interest me when they are applicable to the plot or character(s) of my story. If I am really fascinated by the subject I indulge in purchasing books.