One of the themes of The Memory Collectors is our relationship to physical objects — the memories, emotions, and power they hold for us. Every week leading up to the book’s release, I’ll share the story of an object that’s special to me.
I’ve mentioned before that the spark for my debut novel came from a short story I wrote at the Clarion West Writers Workshop. That story was much more fantastical than The Memory Collectors. In it, Harriet is a witch who hoards actually magical objects, and she runs into trouble when she steals a neighbour’s dragon. The story was called “Magpie’s Dragon,” and after it was workshopped, one of my classmates gave me this magnet (thank you, Blythe).
I took the dragon home with me and later, I brought it to work and stuck it on the white board next to my desk. Besides reminding me of one of my all-time favourite humans, and one of my best-ever life experiences, it helped to keep me connected to a part of me that I was afraid might get lost. This was at a time when other responsibilities and pressures made finding time to write challenging. Some days I needed a visual reminder of my other self, the Kim who created things more interesting and alive than spreadsheets (although to be fair, I do get a thrill from an especially functional spreadsheet).
Eventually I found ways to balance the various parts of my life. My novel got written and I grew to appreciate the ways that the security and flexibility of my day job enabled my creative side to flourish. The dragon is still stuck on my white board, along with last year’s calendar displaying March 2020, waiting for my eventual return to the office. I will be happy to see it again.