Bacon locked his keys in the car last week. It wouldn’t have been a big deal, except that he had both kids, and I was at the movies. When I came out of the theater, I checked my messages. I had four within a 90 minute period.
“I’m at McDonalds, and I did something I haven’t done in a long time. I locked the keys in the car. Call as soon as you get this.”
“I’m still at McDonalds. The girls and I are walking home. Call as soon as you get this.”
“I’m home. I can’t get in because the house key is on the key ring locked inside the car. Call as soon as you get this.
“I got in the house. I lifted Coco through our bathroom window. She unlocked the front door. The car is still at McDonalds. Do you know which one of the keys on the hook in the utility room is the spare key? Sorry. Call as soon as you get this.”
I’m not sure if Bacon thought I could transport his keys using telepathy from the movie theater ten miles away, but when I didn’t answer the phone, he found another way to solve the problem.
I have the same problem when I write. Not with the car or the house, but with finding an open door to my brain. When the words don’t come, when the movie screen in my head fades to black, or worse, reruns the same bad commercial, it helps to do something different. I try to find a backdoor.
My search involves making something that represents the story that I can’t get out of my head. Having a picture or object in my hands helps me to put the words on the page. I didn’t come up with this idea on my own. Lots of writers use backdoors. Some use storyboards or collages. Recently, I found a website that inspired me to try something new. Pamela Allen makes award winning art quilts. When I visited her website at http://pamelart.homestead.com/titlepage.html , I knew I had to try it. While I don’t expect my work to be as fabulous as an artist’s, I like the idea of cutting, pasting, and stitching a portrait of sorts.
So, here is the beginning of my fabric collage for my work in progress, Annie Smart. The quilt and the story are both jigsaw puzzles in my brain. See if you can identify the pieces and where they go. I’ll post new pictures as I add to it.