I have always felt a kinship with magpies and crows and other birds who are drawn to shiny bits of foil and flotsam. When I was little, I liked to dig for marbles, bottles, and bits of broken crockery in the lot behind my yard where a large old house had been torn down. I'd make up whole worlds and imagined existences from a piece of twigware or a shard of mirror, its silver flaking off like a snake's skin. I felt like I was a magical blend of alchemist and archaeologist.
Today, as a writer and teacher of writing, I still experience this same process of discovery and imagination. The writing process is mostly lonely, slow, hard work, digging down in the earth, your knees creaking like wet wood in the mud, but occasional flashes and glimmers appear, and if you remember to look up from time to time, there's always the sky, a tree, and, of course, there are the birds who keep you company and remind you to sing (or even squawk--that's good, too).
I named this blog after my collecting tendencies--keys, old photographs, buttons, textiles, pins (like the map pins in the photo) ironstone, paint boxes, buckets, bowls, recipes, memories, cats, friends, and other things that shine from within. I am drawn to people and places that challenge me to remember and imagine and create. The painting behind the blog's title is Rubens Peale's "Magpie Eating Cake" (1865). I love that audacious bird.