A Thousand Words

20 Oct

Natalie L. Sin posted the other day about inspirational images, asking what our latest one was. Figured I’d put mine here, in the hope it’d spread, since it’s the kind of thing I’m always really interested in with other people.

So hers was adorable, but mine is just nerdy. I was talking about The Horologist last week, a short story I just churned out that required a fair amount of research. It was inspired by an image, or a work of art, I guess. I was at the Smithsonian Museum of American History with my Bonus Sister, Sherry, a month or two ago, and we went through the Lincoln exhibit.*

Inscription inside Lincoln WatchAmong many other cool artifacts, they have Lincoln’s pocketwatch there– they showed you the open face, and then a picture of the innards, which have an awesome story attached to them. If you don’t feel like reading the whole thing, the quick version is that there’s an inscription on the inside from a watchmaker called Dillon, who was repairing it the day of the Battle of Ft. Sumter (1861; American Civil War, for those who never had to sit through that particular lecture)– Lincoln never knew it was there. The Dillon family kept the story for generations, and called up the Smithsonian when they heard about the watch in the exhibition. And lo and behold, there it was.

So I’d seen it a few times this summer, since I’ve spent a lot of time in that particular museum lately, but this time I looked at Sherry and said, “Man, I could get a great story out of that…” She of course encouraged this, and I got out my little notebook to write it down before it got away. A month later it collided with another idea I’d been sitting on in my brain, bounced it off my husband to make it all gel, and I got The Horologist– the vaguely pathetic, overly Victorian George LaFleur.

I strongly suspect that it is not great, as I tried to tell Sherry it would be, but the inspiration is cool enough that I really want to make it great some day.

How about you?

*If you haven’t seen it yet, oh man, try and make it a point because it’s brilliant. The whole museum has been shut down for the last few years for renovations, and only just reopened a few months back– its gorgeous.

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Now playing: Camera Obscura – James
via FoxyTunes

9 Responses to “A Thousand Words”

  1. Natalie L. Sin October 20, 2009 at 6:54 pm #

    That is a great picture/backstory : ) Can you imagine being there when they opened it?

  2. Aaron Polson October 20, 2009 at 8:59 pm #

    Man…pictures can be amazing. Sometimes I pound my head against the desk trying to achieve just a hint of what a picture tells.*

    *Metaphorically, of course.

  3. Alan W. Davidson October 20, 2009 at 9:19 pm #

    I bet I could spend months going through all of the museums in the Washington area.

  4. KVTaylor October 20, 2009 at 11:55 pm #

    For real, Nat. I was thinking that reading that link. Would’ve been such a let down if nothing was there, but they found all kinds of things!

    Aaron, that’s precisely what I studied in school, and precisely what makes me bang my head off my desk too. And that at least is not a metaphor, I’m sure you know all too well.

    Alan, no doubt. I’ve lived here for nearly 4 years and I don’t think I’ve seen half of them.

  5. Cate Gardner October 21, 2009 at 2:53 am #

    I use pictures all the time, I might have to play along and dig up the picture that inspired the latest scene in my book.

    And as I’m about to delve into the whole steampunkish genre, your picture might inspire me somewhere along the line. :D Beware, the next part is particularly creepy… I think I need to crawl into your brain because my Victoriana knowledge is decades old and fuzzy and you seem to know so much.

  6. Cate Gardner October 21, 2009 at 2:54 am #

    Oh and now the frumpy avatar is of me (thanks for the link, strangely I found I was already signed up with the site) instead of a different frumpy me. :D

  7. KVTaylor October 21, 2009 at 12:29 pm #

    Ooh yes, I want to see your picture!

    I wish I knew so much. I’ve never studied that particular era very closely, apart from reading tons of books written during it. Depressing but true. I got fairly comfortable with the Late Regency/Return of the Georgian for the last book, but even then it was mostly the American Version– which was of course ass backwards in many ways. :/

    But we can do Victorian pow-wow! The epic fantasy I work on in my spare time has a lot of clockpunk elements, so it can only be a good thing. Let’s do joint brain crawling, I mean to say.

    Gravatar is awesome, and that is no frumpy avatar! <3

Trackbacks and Pingbacks

  1. Thank You, Rock Stars - KV Taylor – SpecFic and Nonsense - January 3, 2010

    [...] I love you. If not for your Piano Trio in G Minor, I never would’ve managed The Horologist. The Lincoln watch from the Smithsonian, the inspiration from the market for which it’s intended, all were important, but you were [...]

  2. The Horlogist Storms New Bedlam - KV Taylor – SpecFic and Nonsense - July 1, 2010

    [...] Project today! There were many inspirations for this little piece of Victorian weirdness– a trip to the American History museum and the awesome that is Clara Schumann have already been discussed. Other factors were my husband, [...]

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