Wednesday, May 12, 2010


How many items does it take to make a collection? I used to collect Fontanini figures and buildings (think Bethlehem) and had over two hundred figures -- now that’s a collection! When we moved into an apartment, I no longer had room to display them, so I donated them to my church, which very kindly appointed me “Curator of the Creche,” allowing me to set up and take down the display at Christmas time.

I have only three hot-cast bronze horse statues by Candace M. Liddy, but I consider that a collection, too.

I have a copy of every Dortmunder novel Donald E. Westlake wrote and several of his “one-off” novels as well (“Smoke,” for example, and “Trust Me on This” and “The Ax”). I wish I my writing even approached the levels he wrote at. *sigh* I’m not sure whether that’s a collection or not.

I have copies of every book I’ve written and every short story, too. But that’s not a collection, that’s a celebration. Though I will admit to stopping by the shelves I keep them on and smiling now and then.

I have more Christmas tree ornaments than our small artificial tree can hold. Is that a collection? I think so, I love getting them out and gloating over them, remembering when and where I purchased each of them.

I have an ever-growing stack of needlework magazines and I keep buying needlework patterns. I don’t think they make a collection, however.

I have a terrific collection of hats, probably somewhere around thirty or thirty-five. I love each and every one of them. Wearing them makes me feel like a grown-up, and a little bit glamorous, and maybe a bit eccentric. I’m going to have to make a rule that I can’t buy a new hat unless I give up an old one, which would be very hard to do.

We have a small collection of framed art work: needlework, oil paintings, water colors. Not a whole lot, but enough that now and again I’ll take something down and put up something else so my eyes don’t get tired of any of it.

For some reason, I have a whole lot of purses -- more than I have pairs of shoes -- but I don’t consider them a collection; they’re just purses. Maybe that’s what makes some things a collection and others not: the gloating, the way that handling them brings strong, pleasurable memories. I gloat over my hats but not my purses.

What do you collect?

To my readers in Fargo, ND, Wolf Point and Cut Bank, MT, Spokane and Seattle, WA, Portland, OR, Sacramento, CA, and Salt Lake City, UT, look for me and my friend Tanya in your town in June. (We’re also stopping in East Glacier Park, MT, and Reno, NV, but I’m not making an appearance in either place, but will just be playing the tourist.) See my web site -- -- for a complete schedule.


riona said...

I collect wood carvings or bronze castings of owls, ravens and herons ... the pride of my collection is a meticuosly carved native American piece ... an owl only 2 inches in height.

My husband collects fountain pens.

By the by, I loved visiting your hat gallery on your blog ... my collection of hats numbers a mere six, most of which are utilitarian broad-brimmed sun hats. My daughter has started collecting vintage hats since her significant other is an antique car enthusiast and she needs to complete her costumes with the perfect hat. She already has a significant collection of exotic headgear [tiaras, crowns, chain mail headdresses] to wear at the fantasy and faerie conventions she attends several times a year.

Monica Ferris said...

Actually, I have four Candace Liddy bronzes: the dream piece, Boys Night Out, Dune Dancer and Feet Don't Fail Me Now.

And an awful lot of socks, though I consider those necessities, not a collection

BeadKnitter said...

This is a fun blog post. You have some interesting collections.

I also collect your books. I have them all and smile when I see them on the book shelf.

I collect hand painted sock yarn (some would say I hoard it). I collect violinist figurines. I've been doing that since I was a teenager so I've got quite a few now. I am getting a fairly large collection of beaded jewelry that I've made. But my most favorite collection is of knitting figurines-which are very hard to find.

My husband collects movie DVDs and computer parts.

Camille Minichino said...

Thanks for this delightful insight into the notion of collecting, as well as a peek into your life.

Joanna Campbell Slan said...

Gosh, Monica, I guess even one is a collection if you plan to add more? I think it's very important not to hide away the things you love.

Anonymous said...

I love talking about collections. Interesting what people will select to collect.

I have a compulsion to buy a Christmas ornament from every place that we vacation. I have many. Lol

I have cookie jars all over the top of my kitchen cabinets (in the space between the top of the cabinet and ceiling). Probably 20 or so. I ran out of space. Many are family treasures and some I've found in antique shops. I also have salt-and-pepper shakers that match many of them.

We won't consider my books a collection. Way too many. Way too diverse. So many that they are a little scary sometimes. :-)

Betty Hechtman said...

I never really planned it, but I collect dolls. I particularly like unusual ones like the Sherlock Holmes doll I bought recently.