A Life with At Least a Little Bit of Magic

For the past few years, I’ve started decorating my office space. Or maybe I’ve just started collecting. Mostly, they’re plush figures: about 95 percent are fictional, like one of the Wild Things and my Ernie & Bert dolls. Some are just slightly more real; on one shelf Jane Addams and Will Shakespeare sit next to each other, chatting about something. Don’t you wish you could actually hear that conversation?

But I have a few…things…that don’t fit the theme. They’re small, and in the days of CRT monitors, they’re the kind of collectible that would have sat on top of your monitor. In fact, that’s where my group did live. Now that my monitor has no top, they sit on the base. I like to have them there when I’m sitting at my desk–I don’t know if they actually inspire me to write or not, but I can pick them up and fiddle with them while I think. Or I can look at them and think about where they came from…what they mean.

Here’s a picture of the current gang.


The turtle on the left with the #1 medal was made by my son when he was much younger, reminding me about the tortoise and the hair and reminding me as well to have patience with my sometime slow speed. The UCSC banana slug, also made by my son, is…well, he’s the mascot for UC Santa Cruz, and he is a reference to the first novel I finished and finished well. Despite (because of?) the tortoise speed.

And the bear fetish, I wrote about here.

Today, I was shopping in town, and I found a little guy I want to sponsor for membership in the monitor-base club.

flying pig

Cute? Pretty darned.  I think he looks a bit like a cross between Wilbur, on the day Fern first fell in love with him, and one of the Catwings felines. He was in a basket of other figurines at the store, but he “jumped” right out at me. Maybe it was the copper color, maybe the wings, maybe the sparkle. But, basically, he said one word to me: Magic.

Because, you know, pigs are really never going to be what you’d call aerodynamic.

Magic is something I want and need in my life. I’ve been in such a better mood about my writing since I made the decision to lay aside the YA historical and start on my new MG idea instead. (Forehead slap: When I think about it, I’ve been happiest EVERY TIME I started writing a MG book. Double-DUH!) Writing has started to feel like magic again, with the storyline and the characters and the words coming from I know not where. And, honestly, if you’d told me six months ago that this change would make me so much happier, I might have snorted and said something like, oh, I don’t know…”Yeah, when pigs fly!” Hello?

So, yes, my little Pigwings character is moving into his new home beneath the monitor. He’ll be another one I curl my hand around, run a finger over his carvings, look at and smile while I let my mind wander to good places.

I think the other guys will welcome him.

How do you decorate your writing space? What’s right in front of you while you work, unavoidably in your line of sight…except for those moments, of course, where you’re completely blind to your physical surroundings, seeing only story?


  1. Love your Pigwings character! (oh how I love Catwings!) The things that I look to for solace and inspiration are mainly on the bookshelves directly across the room from where I sit at my desk (my desk faces out into the room, I hate facing the wall). There’s a picture of my now-grown honorary nephew in his cute footie pjs reading a bunny book I wrote and made for him (you can see the picture on my Facebook Author page), a framed posted of the first Very Fairy Princess picture book cover a friend in Ireland got in on a giveaway by the publisher, won the poster, it was shipped to her from New York, she shipped it to me, I had it framed)… on my desk close by is my usb drive thingy that looks like a black mercedes sportscar. I love vrooming it… and I have a little Willow Tree angel a friend gave me for Christmas — she’s holding a book and is called the Angel of Learning officially, but my friend crossed out “learning” and wrote in “writing”. 🙂


    • beckylevine says:

      Catwings was an interesting series. Not typical fantasy kidlit, I don’t think. But those guys sure stuck in my mind. I love the things you can see from your desk! 😉


  2. Love this – I’m a collector of many things and rely upon all these items to inspire and motivate me, as well as represent fond memories and friends. I’m about to start creating/decorating a new writing space and I look forward to seeing what items become part of it. 🙂 thanks for sharing!


    • beckylevine says:

      Oh, you’re going to have fun decorating the new space. Sometimes, it’s just good to start fresh!


  3. joycemoyerhostetter says:

    Been wondering about that banana slug mystery.

    What I keep in front of me? A model of an East German Trabbi. Postcards from Berlin. And some carousel images.


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