Talismans and Icons

A talisman (from Arabic طلاسم tilasm, ultimately from Greek telesma or from the Greek word “telein” which means “to initiate into the mysteries”) is an amulet or other object considered to possess supernatural or magical powers.

An icon (from Greek εἰκών eikōn “image”) is a religious work of art, most commonly a painting, from Eastern Orthodox Christianity and Catholicism. More broadly the term is used in a wide number of contexts for an image, picture, or representation; it is a sign or likeness that stands for an object by signifying or representing it either concretely or by analogy.

For years, I’ve gathered objects around me that have meaning and power.  My own art and the art of others.  Pebbles collected off the beach of Iona when I went there for a personal retreat.  A fountain that spills water out of two terracotta pots.  An Uzbek tea set that I received as a gift.  My office/study/dance studio space is filled with them.  And for some reason, it’s time to tell their stories.

On the same bulletin board with the calendar for my writing stickers, there are two objects that inspire me daily.  One is part of an ad ripped out of a magazine and given to me nearly ten years ago.

My best friend taped it on my bedroom door when we were flatmates in Scotland.  “Enjoy the exciting life of a published writer.”  Those are prophetic words to me — I WILL enjoy that exciting life one day.  I WILL get published in the real world, by a real publishing company with a real editor. I WILL find my books on the shelves of Barnes & Noble and the local independent bookseller.

The other is a scrap of paper with a quote from Angela Cartwright, in which she says, “I call myself an ‘unruly artist’ to remind me that letting go is a big part of the process.”  Have I been unruly enough lately?  Have I splashed with abandon into the pool of my artistic endeavors?  Have I experimented with anything?

Tomorrow I will work on my novel some more, and begin summoning the courage to send out a query letter to a certain agent soon…very soon.  Tomorrow I will be an unruly artist and experiment with cutting gauntlets out of supple black leather.

Tonight, I will go to sleep as the fresh night air wafts in our windows.




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