Thursday, March 22, 2012

Pinteresting coincidence

It's weird how Pinterest is blowing up right at the exact moment I've become obsessed with old fashioned pin boards. I posted a few weeks ago about my homemade bulletin board, which is now completely covered, by the way, obscuring the fact that I never did get back to the fabric store to buy more of the ribbon for the unfinished border. I have an unseemly pride in the thing and the way it has accumulated layers of clippings from the newspaper, old maps, note cards and sheets torn from large pads of paper.

In the meantime, I also spent a long time thumbing through and cutting articles and photos out of old magazines from the 50's -- Life, Home and Garden, etc. I don't have any more bulletin board space to speak of, so I used big sheets of sketch paper and glue stick (wish they had had that when we were kids) and made collages. I filled three of them and have them hanging up in spare space in my office. I worked on these in the evening in front of the T.V.

I did similar clipping and collecting with my previous books, but I didn't have any bulletin board space then, so it all just went into folders and never got looked at. I don't know how inspiring the pictures actually are. (The notecards with the plot are key.) But just the act of looking out for them is probably important.

When it comes to the Life magazines, it's really tempting to marvel at and cut out the corny ads. That would get old pretty quick, because that's pretty much a bottomless well. And more importantly, it doesn't really help get in touch with the era. I don't think readers then really saw "Pleasure In Prince Albert!" tobacco ads as reflecting reality, however much it might have created desire. So when I was really looking for the occasional articles in those magazines that did some kind of reporting or pictorial on real people. Very very rarely they would have some kind of "day in the life" thing about a person or people from the provinces, and if I squint -- or clip aggressively -- I can pretend it's the particular province my story is set in. I was looking for some face that wasn't Doris Day's or Rock Hudson's or the model driving the new car. I wanted to see what a real person looked like then, and I got a few.

Anyway, I don't want to sound like a hater, but I couldn't do all this with Pinterest, I think, and even if I could, the result wouldn't be hanging on the wall when I step into my office every morning. I just thought it was funny that I was spending all this time with scissors and glue at the exact moment every other post on Facebook was about Pinterest.

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