My name is Maddie, and I am a rockaholic

Hello, my name is Maddie, and I have a teeny tiny little rock addiction.

No. That’s not how it goes.

Hello, my name is Maddie, and I am a rockaholic.

I walk down a beach, and rocks just call out to me, begging for me to pick them up. Much to my husband’s shock, by the time I go home, much of the beach is heading off with me.

I have rocks that I’m passionate about: the heart-shaped purple one that looks as though it might have been manufactured in a heart-rock plant, it’s so perfectly formed–and then there are the perfectly round white ones that look as though they are miniature full moons. I also have one that resembles a rabbit’s head–ears, eyes, and wistful expression. And there’s the layered rock, with different slabs of colors all fused somehow together, as though on purpose. Surely nature didn’t mean for that one to go unadmired by being buried under gobs of sand. I have to bring it along with me, so I can be reminded of it every day. There’s a shiny black one, not truly very interesting until you pick it up and rub it, and then you see that it feels as though it’s already spent some  time in a tumbler–perhaps the cosmic tumbler. I may need that one to stay in my pocket just to remind me that sometimes perfection is right there on the beach.

Naturally I’m always looking for a good writing rock, because  I am constantly looking for muses everywhere–and who knows but a perfectly good muse might be located in a rock on the beach in Provincetown, which is where I happen to be right now. All the writers I know are like baseball players–we’re superstitious about just where the luck might be located. If we always sit in the same spot, put on our lucky T-shirt, and if we always win four games of Spider Solitaire without cheating before turning to our novel, and throw some salt in all the corners of our office,  will we be visited by the Force?

The thing is, we do not know.

Does this rock look like it knows how to summon a muse?

I once had a writing necklace, and–as you might have guessed–it was really a series of rocks tied up with string. I wore it whenever I sat down to write, and that year, I finished my book in record time, my characters all behaved according to my plan, and I thought of writing as a happy, fulfilling occupation more than 50% of the time. Unfortunately, though, the necklace, perhaps thinking that its work was done, disappeared soon after. It didn’t seem to grasp the idea that I was striving to be a CAREER NOVELIST, and would need lots and lots of help in the future.

Perhaps one of the buckets of rocks I have chosen this year will be The One. But just in case, at the swap meet in Wellfleet yesterday, I saw another possible writing necklace. It had just the right vibe: smooth, shiny rocks, flat and symmetrical.

I have to see if these new rocksknow what I should do with my recalcitrant characters, all of whom are currently ganging up on me. And if they don’t–well, then there’s always the bucket of rocks riding around in the trunk of my car.


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15 Responses to My name is Maddie, and I am a rockaholic

  1. Allan Douglas August 21, 2012 at 12:33 pm #

    My Dad used to be a rock-a-holic too, only he called himself a rock-hound. He had boxes and boxes of the things that had been collected from all over the world – and we moved them each year as we were reassigned. Some of them he would toss into a lapidary tumbler and polish, some would get shaped and made into rings or pendants or belt buckles for us. My favorite of his collection were the geodes; hollow globes that when cracked open reveal a myriad of purple crystalline shapes. Like you, staring at the amazing shapes sometimes spurred my imagination and the writing juices.

    Thanks for sharing, and for rattling loose some great, dusty, memories.

  2. Maddie August 21, 2012 at 2:01 pm #

    Hi, Allan! I think that rock-hound sounds so much better than rockaholic. I’m going to apply for a change in diagnosis!

    Thanks for writing about your dad’s collection. He must have had an understanding family, to be willing to move them along each year. I can barely get my family to agree to bring them off the beach!

  3. Holly Robinson August 22, 2012 at 1:23 pm #

    Ha! Even more reason for you to visit PEI! When I’m there, I collect rocks as well as sea glass. My favorites are the ones with the stripes around their middles, like little people wearing belts. PEI is also famous for its heart-shaped rocks. My grandfather used to collect rocks–yes, Allan, he was a rock hound–and he would polish them and make them into necklaces for my grandmother. I still have one of those necklaces and wear it.

  4. Caryn Caldwell August 22, 2012 at 4:17 pm #

    Ha! I was totally expecting you to talk about music here. Which would be appropriate, too, since so many writers need just the right music to make book magic. If you like to rock hound, though, you’d love my area. Lots of fun rocks – geodes, weathered sandstone, and even arrowheads. As for your comment about winning four games of spider solitaire, I had to laugh. I used to have almost the exact same ritual in college when I sat down to write a paper! Then I finally realized it was just my way of procrastinating. Not that it made me stop. Then I just felt guilty the whole time I played solitaire.

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