I've been writing the great American love story. I took advantage of a perfect opportunity to dust off the cobwebs on it while I was in a relaxed state this past holiday weekend. I don't talk about it too much and when I do, those that know me scratch their heads and wonder if I've taken that final leap into insanity. They make not so subtle comments about my life already being filled with uncontrolled levels of complexity and then offer backhanded support like "if anyone can do it, it's you". The fact is I've been writing this book off and on for 8 years, trying to fulfill a childhood dream. Without giving away too much of the premise, it's a fictional tale about two people who meet through the infatuation a mutual friend has for one of them. And of course jewelry plays a huge role in how all of the characters connect. Here's the thing. In this case, writers block is not my issue. For a change, procrastination is not my excuse. It's not really a lack of time or any of the common excuses one gives for not completing a project. It's my unnatural obsession with making sure the locations, the scents, the surroundings I write about are factual. I've been drawing on so many resources: the Internet, encyclopedias, conversations with residents of Chicago, IL (where the story takes place). I'm hopelessly lost in the research! The one source I've called upon time and again to expand my knowledge of jewelry and gemstone lore is the book Jewels, A Secret History by Victoria Finlay. I made a humongous mistake.
The rich, impassioned stories that Ms. Finlay so eloquently tells about those "sparkly trinkets" we ogle in Tiffany's or drool over on the glossy pages of Vogue are fascinating. From Cleopatra's Emerald mines to the scientific factoid that Peridot sometimes falls from the sky, this book is filled with alluring legends and written in such a compelling manner that the historical facts actually captivate and do not bore you to tears. In my humble opinion, this book should be in the library of every aspiring and established jewelry designer. It will help artists speak about their craft from an uncommon and rather glamorous perspective. Fashion buffs will absolutely love it too for its understanding of how gemstones have influenced trends throughout history. The book will also serve another purpose. Someday, perhaps it will help me move my novel off of my computer and into the land of full-blown realities. That is if I can ever detach myself from the details long enough to actually write it.
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