This year my desk calendar displays a vintage ad above each monthly grid. January’s ad is for a Big Ben alarm clock. The style of the ad is mid-century and the vibe of the ad is cheerful. I smile when I look at it.
Unlike the nature photo calendars that I’ve had in the past, this one inspires me in a more creative way. Suddenly I want to paint something– or bake something– or color something, even. Funny how the imagery on something can influence me in such a way, but it does.
I’ve always been fascinated by what objects people put around themselves. I enjoy knowing what stuff a person finds important enough to keep on his or her desk– or on his or her kitchen counter– or in his or her magazine rack. The little things that make someone smile. Or be productive. Or feel safe.
I stumbled on this article about abandoned suitcases that were found in an old insane asylum. It’s an interesting read. The photos of the contents of the suitcases are amazing. Plus there is documentation to explain who owned the suitcases– and why he or she was institutionalized.
There’s no way of knowing who put the objects into each suitcase. It might have been the patient or it might have been the person who institutionalized the patient. Or, I suppose, it might have been the nurse or doctor who came to escort the patient to the asylum.
Looking around my home office I see the details that make it mine. Like the calendar that inspires me. Like the colorful Le Creuset mug that keeps my coffee handy. Like the books in the old wooden bookcase that ground me. And I wonder, what would I take with me if I knew I was going to an insane asylum… probably for the rest of my life.
Impossible to know the answer to such a hypothetical question. Yet interesting to ponder. On a Saturday morning.