Tuesday night I was at dinner with Connie Willis, Daniel Abraham and a number of folks from the science fiction community in New Mexico.  Connie had been given a sack of wrapping paper because she collects wrapping paper.  She gave us the fascinating background on why it existed.  Prior to 1920 packages were just wrapped in brown paper or tissue with a ribbon.  It was the crash and resultant depression that led to the creation of wrapping paper.  People didn’t have money for expensive gifts so they wrapped the inexpensive gift in pretty paper to make up for it.  Connie said she could identify the decade by just glancing at the paper.  During the 1960’s it was all psychedelics, then mylar came in and foil, etc. etc.

I collect antique sterling silver flatware.  My pattern is Violet by Wallace.  It’s a lovely art Nouveau pattern, and while I collect because it’s beautiful I collect it because of what it says about the era in which it was made — roughly 1880 to 1910.  It was a culture where you had “staff” to keep it all polished.  Where you had a luncheon place setting and a dinner setting.  Serving pieces for every conceivable kind of food.  I have a lettuce fork, a pickle fork, chocolate spoon, strawberry fork, fish fork, jelly spoon, baked potato server, fish server, etc. etc.  I also have this lovely filagreed piece which was a bonbon server.  It is meant to keep the powdered sugar off your fingers or clothing.

I decided I wanted to use it for Thanksgiving so I made dates stuffed with cream cheese and pecans and dusted with powdered sugar and I will serve them with the bonbon server.


2 Responses to Collecting

  • Mac says:

    Apropos of nothing on this post other than your dinner with Connie Willis, I wanted to finally leave you a comment. I was lucky to get to hear you and Connie speak about the rewrite process at Page One following your dinner. After you spoke, I had you sign one of my books and told you that I was a faithful reader of your blog here but had never commented. It was a rare treat to hear you and Connie speak. And thank you appearing with Connie, as this was my first time hearing her speak and I’ve never read any of her work – I will now. Hearing you both describe the process you follow through rewriting was instructive and a great encouragement. I have always been envious of the Critical Mass group and the work that has been fostered there. New Mexico can be a lonely place for writers, as there aren’t many opportunities for writers to get together and support each other. I was drawn to your books because you and the others in the Critical Mass group are an inspiration to writers locally. Thank you again for the opportunity to meet you and hear you talk about writing.

    • Melinda Snodgrass says:

      Thank you so much, Mac for the really kind words. You’re right, writing is a really solitary profession so it’s nice to get to interact with other writers and readers. It energizes me and keeps me working. Connie is wonderful, isn’t she? I can’t wait to read this new novel. She is one of the funniest and wittiest people I know, but she can also break your heart like she did in Blackout and All Clear. And Fire Watch — oh God, what a brilliant story. Do you ever attend Bubonicon? It’s a great regional convention with so many writers just hanging out. It’s very easy to visit with people there. Connie almost always comes down as well as Carrie Vaughn and GRRM is there along with Walter Jon Williams, Daniel Abraham, Steven Stirling, Victor Milan, etc. etc.

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