Saturday, July 29, 2006

From Art to Part

Recently I had dinner with an acquaintance who owns a custom blow molding company. He shows me a four color brochure with pictures of cabinets, spoilers, picnic tables and toys, wheeled trash cans, and a child’s sleigh bed, all products his company makes. He mentions making a sketch of the sleigh bed before it went “to press.”

I tell him I want to know everything, how he gets an idea, how he knows what mixtures work, how it moves through the giant presses, what happens, how it happens, everything. “Oh,” he says. “From art to part.”

From art to part. That’s a new phrase for me. Immediately I begin wondering how that’s analogous to writing. He talks about ideas, sketches, molds, flash, trains, outsourcing, PSI, ambient air, costs, green space, product life cycle. But out of nothing – often borne of desire or need – comes something.

I rather like this phrase, from art to part. I might adopt it. It may be useful to describe the writing process to people who wonder what I could be doing on a weekend in a room with a Jane Austen Action Figure and garish Orange Carpet. I could say I’m working on taking art to part.

That will be this writer’s shorthand for describing how I come up with black and white marbled portfolio books, scribbles on scraps of paper in my purse and on my desk and every other room, pen blobs in unlikely places, and various manuscripts. They are the conduit that transports the vision in my head and yearning in my heart. But really, I'm just taking my ideas from art to part.

Friday, July 21, 2006


Tonight I'm taking My Jane Austen Action Figure out of the box and placing her
on my desk. This would be the desk with the original Olympia typewriter on
it, given to me by Theresa Williams. Since I've last written to you, I've
become the proud owner of another Olympia (with an art-deco case, I'm becoming a
total snob), and now Jane is going to provide the vehicle for my creative
expression. Cryptic, I know, but there it is.

In the past two months, thoughts like so many migratory birds passing by have flown through my head. I am neither the beginning nor the end of these thoughts.

Totally unrelated department: I’m having a small dinner birthday party in a few weeks. I was going to grill steak with a Monterey steak rub. Guess what? I lost the recipe. Can you help me find one, or do you have a suggestion? Also, any tips on a good wine to serve with it? I’m a chef in need of some help!