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Writing Spark: For The Love of Art

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Throughout the course of my life I have had several collections. Unicorns, magnets, Winnie the Pooh, miniatures, (which in itself was a very small collection), snow globes from each city I visited, but not any snow globe. They had to be the same size and type. Right now, it’s Chuck Taylor Converse.

Then there’s my father who has one of the most insane collection of Elvis Presley memorabilia and collector plates covering every wall in his house (thanks to his mother who collected everything, just to collect things). He even commission sculptures and paintings of “The King” from an artist.

People have been collecting things since the dawn of man for every reason possible. We have museums for everything; art, history, cars (hello Jay Leno), aviation, shoes, music, movies, sports, wax people. There are even museums dedicated to collections of

  • penises (and appropriately, another for condoms), dog collars, bad art, law mowers, toilets, mustard, instant ramen, parasites, barbed wire, hair, salt and pepper shakers, pez dispensers, bad relationships and yes, even garbage. There’s even one in Cancun that is underwater. I hope you know how to scuba dive.

The Smithsonian is said to have so many individual pieces, it’s not possible for a single person to spend time looking at each one and get through them in their lifetime. The museum regularly rotates pieces out; which is cool since that basically makes the Smithsonian a completely new museum each time you visit.

You name it, we have collected it.

This got me thinking about WHY we collect things and the people behind them. As someone who is always curious about the story behind something I asked myself that tried and true question for creating story lines, “what if….”

Today’s writing spark delves into the idea of collections and the people and purpose behind them.


  • Who is this character?
  • What do they do for a living?
  • Do they have a family? Children?
  • Are they male or female?
  • What does the collection consist of? Where did it all come from? Who did it come from?
  • Why did the character collect these things? What is his/her motivation?
  • Who are the people that helped this character obtain the collection? Why did they help?
  • Where do they live? What social class do they all come from?
  • Do they get discovered? What happens if they are?

Think outside the box:

  • What if the collection wasn’t art? What else could it be?
  • Is the collection dangerous, morbid, funny?
  • Did someone else tell this person to collect these things? Why?
  • Could the collection have significant implications or does it affect anything? Political? Environmental? Historical? Scientific? Planetary? Cosmic? Socially? Criminally?
  • Is the collection big or small? Are the items in it big or small? Where is it kept/stored.
  • What if this character only “thought” they were admired. Maybe people are afraid of them, or under their control.
  • What if the community was something else? Aliens? Robots? Children? Animals? Magical creatures? People or things from another time?

Go write some ideas down. Keep them in a “story idea bank”. If it the spark set your muse on fire, run with it.

What else can you come up with? What does this spark in your imagination?


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