Heidi has giraffes

photoMy sweet friend, Heidi, has this thing about giraffes.  You’ll have to ask her therapist for the details but her tall-necked aversion means that every single time I see a giraffe, I think of Heidi.

On Wednesday, I stumbled across a paper mache giraffe collapsed in the back of a truck. (Yeah, these kinds of things really do happen in Portland.)  I pulled over, parked the car, and ran back to snap a picture for her.

When I was younger I was a ballet dancer.  For every birthday, I got ballet-themed gifts–earrings, t-shirts, books, teddy bears wearing tutus.  It was my thing.

Now I got sick of the pink satin shoes, and Heidi probably gets sick of the giraffe references (especially since she thinks they’re creepy), but I realize that obsessions are good for writers.

These are the quirky things that find their way into our work.  They are the topics we sink our teeth into and just can’t let go.  I love documentaries about people’s obsessions–competitive scrabble, beauty pageants, Dr. Bronner’s magic soap.  Our obsessions go hand in hand with our creativity.  They help us get our weird on and that is what leads to authentic voice.

So…  what’s your thing?


2 thoughts on “Heidi has giraffes

  1. My obsession is researching literary agents! Wow, that felt good, like an alcoholic at their first AA meeting!!
    Seriously, my daughter is in her fourth year double majoring in biology and Spanish. She wrote a book about her gap year experience studying monkeys in the rainforest before college.

    Amber, as a biologist and author, would you consider taking a look at her story and give a writer’s opinion, and possibly an endorsement?

    Very Sincerely,
    Carol Wilkins

    1. Hi Carol,
      Thanks for writing. You must be very proud of your daughter. She sounds like a great person. If she’s already querying agents, then she’s on the right track. An endorsement from me wouldn’t help much. I suggest that she join SCBWI.org. It’s a great organization with tons of resources for those new to the publishing biz.

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