Talisman–a stone, ring, or other object, engraved with figures or characters supposed to possess occult powers and worn as an amulet or charm
Superstition–a belief or notion, not based on reason or knowledge, in or of the ominous significance of a particular thing, circumstance, occurence, proceeding, or the like
Hula–a sinuous Hawaiian native dance with intricate arm movements that tell a story in pantomime, usually danced to rhythmic drumming and accompanied by chanting
This post goes along with Megan’s yesterday (though Friday the 13th passed here with no grave occurences–it was just cold and rainy all day!). I’ve often found artists of all sorts (sometimes including myself!) to be a rather superstitious lot. Shakespearean actors and their “Scottish play,” for example, or an art major I knew in college who would only work at the easel while wearing his “lucky shoes” (an ancient pair of very smelly Converse, layered with varicolored oil paint splotches). Dancers might be the worst of all. When I was into ballet, everyone I knew had their own collection of talismans and lucky charms (necklaces, rocks, and troll dolls mostly, not the LC cereal, though there was this one girl who claimed if you ate the little marshmallows without milk they had no calories…). Everything had to be arranged and aligned just right to bring good fortune to a performance or rehersal. I had a special way of tying my shoe ribbons.
My desk is a little universe of talismans, designed to lure my muse and keep goblins (self-doubt, writer’s block, stubborn characters) away. I have two small, flat stones fished from an icy-cold riverbed in Taos. A little Buddha with a slot for tea light candles (yellow, to inspire creativity). A statue of St. Teresa of Avila (one of the patron saints of writers!) that belonged to my grandmother. Pictures of actors and actresses who resemble my characters, or who I just happen to like. And, most important, Leilani, whose photo you see here.
Leilani is a bobbling hula dancer figure, meant to go on a dashboard, that I bought at an ABC store on Maui. ABC stores are wondrous places, where you can buy flip flops, sunblock, a plastic tiki god, a jumbo box of chocolate-covered macademia nuts, and a bottle of pineapple wine, all in one easy stop. Leilani is my best good luck charm. When I get stuck in my writing, I just reach out and make her bobble, look into her weirdly painted eyes, and ask her for inspiration. She usually says things like “Give up on that Regency duke and write about palm trees and beaches!” But she’s better than nothing.
Do you have any good luck charms? What’s on your desk today?