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Knick-Knack Overlords – A Guest Post By ReGi McClain

11 Oct

    A few weeks ago I asked ReGi McClain to write a guest post about writing, marketing, social media, or something. Yeah, I was pretty much that vague.  With that jumbled request, she came back with this lovely post (she even chose the video. Nice!).

So, without further jabbering from me, here’s ReGi.  😀

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    It was my favorite housekeeping guru who pointed it out. We like to think of ourselves as gods. In his book, Clutter’s Last Stand, Don Aslett viciously confronts the human tendency to create and control little worlds by collecting knick-knacks and arranging them just so. My grandmother is a prime example of this phenomenon. By the time she and my grandfather moved out of the home they owned for 30 years, she collected hundreds (dare I say thousands?) of trinkets from around the world. Nothing interesting there, right? Millions of people do that.

So why do I bring up my grandmother? Because, unlike most people who amass armies of gewgaws, my grandmother remembers the stories behind each and every one of her treasures in vivid detail. Not only can she tell you where, when, and why she got them, she can usually tell you what materials and methods were used in making them, the cultural significance of those materials and methods, and possibly even the name of the artisan and his aunt’s husband’s cousin’s new boyfriend. Okay, okay, so maybe not the new boyfriend. I assume the girl in question would have married the fella or moved on by now.

Writers are a lot like collectors. We take our little baubles, our characters and conflicts, and arrange them until we like what we see. But do we, like my grandmother, take the time to get the story behind each? If you don’t write speculative fiction, as I do, perhaps you don’t think you need so much backstory. Not so. Maybe you don’t need to decide whether the dragon likes his maidens medium-rare or well done, but at least know why your story needs to happen in London instead of any other major metropolis. Perhaps the anatomical location of the alien’s nose is of no importance to you, but do you know why that character is mind-bogglingly shallow?

Mind you, I don’t think you should start any collections. I’d have to spend weeks with my grandmother to get every story. Sadly, with all those ornaments competing for space with each other, all of them lost value. When I visited to pick out the things I wanted to keep, I passed up many costly, beautiful things because they held no importance to me. Instead, I kept an ugly metal pig. Why? Because my grandmother told me its story. I know it’s real value.

Don Aslett believes in ruthlessly giving away everything that doesn’t hold true significance for you. Not just marginal  sentimental value or potential usefulness someday. No. We’re talkin’ actively-contributing-to-your-current-well-being importance. The same principle can be applied to writing. When you look at your literary knick-knacks, do you  remember why you kept them? Are they truly important? Then put them out where we can see them! Toss the rest. You don’t have to give us your reasons for keeping each treasure unless it’s important to the story, but if you’ve done it right, we, like any fascinated guest, will ask you for more details.

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mCq20AC__B4

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Thank you, ReGi!  I’ll have to ask you back again.  😀

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If you’re curious about today’s guest blogger, you can go over to her blog: www.regimcclain.wordpress.com

Chat with her on Twitter:  www.twitter.com/regimcclain

And find her on Facebook: www.facebook.com/RegiMcclain

I would recommend all three, really. She’s a lot of fun.  😀

And she just informed me that she has a Pinterest page as well: http://www.pinterest.com/ReGiMcClain

She’s practically everywhere!  lol

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Have a Great Weekend!

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7 Responses to “Knick-Knack Overlords – A Guest Post By ReGi McClain”

  1. lucindasutherland October 11, 2013 at 6:34 pm #

    Wow! Excellent, excellent post. I’ve read “Clutter’s Last Stand” and never got that out of it – then again, I didn’t have a grandmother with quite that many knick knacks or such detailed stories about the ones that she did have. I will have to give real thought to Regi’s suggestions. Thanks to Rose for making this possible.

    Like

    • rosedandrea October 11, 2013 at 10:55 pm #

      You’re welcome. 🙂

      ReGi did come up with a very good post. I hope she says yes again when I ask her to write another one in a couple months. 😀

      Like

  2. lucindasutherland October 11, 2013 at 6:39 pm #

    Oh, now that I’ve watched the cartoon I have to add – it’s adorable! I hadn’t seen it, and it fits with the blog post extremely well.

    Like

    • rosedandrea October 11, 2013 at 10:58 pm #

      ReGi did a wonderful job of pairing a video with her post. (and it’s one of my favorite shorts by Pixar. Yay!)

      Like

  3. Alana Terry October 12, 2013 at 1:19 am #

    Regi’s so fun and always has such great advice! Thanks for hosting her!

    Like

    • rosedandrea October 12, 2013 at 2:07 am #

      You’re welcome. 😀
      It was an honor to have her write something for me to share.

      Like

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Go See Rose! | regimcclain - October 12, 2013

    […] week, I shall refer you over to my good friend, Rose D’Andrea. I’ve written a guest post for her blog this week, so that’s where you’ll find […]

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