Antique book collection
I started collecting antiquarian books when I was living in Germany as a child (my father is a colonel in the Air Force, so our family was stationed there for four years). My parents visited a lot of flea markets across Europe, and while they looked for antique furniture, I looked for antique books. I find them aesthetically beautiful and historically fascinating – owning these feels like owning little pieces of literary history, and that is thrilling to me as a lifelong lover of both history and literature.
German tin boxes
My parents gave me these vintage German tin boxes as a gift, and I’ve always used them as ‘memory boxes’ to store old journals and notebooks, photos, cards, letters, postcards, ticket stubs, and more. The first I’ve had since I was about 8 years old, and contains memories through high school, while the second I received later – that one is from college to the present. I find that I have less and less to put into a memory box these days, as our memories have become more and more digitized. Maybe someday these will be more like time capsules.
The concept of life as narrative is important to me – we create our own meaning; we create our own plots. And if life is a story, I as a storyteller will always strive to make mine spectacular, to turn painful experiences into narratives that others can learn from and enjoy. It’s as T.S. Eliot said: “The purpose of literature is to turn blood into ink.” The ‘bestseller’ part of this decal is somewhat tongue-in-cheek – we should all be so lucky – but I find it motivating as I’m working through the first draft of a novel.
I was speaking recently with the founder of the My Intent Project, which creates wearable ‘words of intent’, and he asked me what my word would be – a concept that I feel passionately about and want more of in my life. I immediately chose courage, which is a virtue I value extremely highly in others and in myself. Moral courage especially is imperative for me: if I’m not brave enough to stand up for what is right even when doing so is difficult, scary, inconvenient, or painful, then I am not a principled person of integrity – and principled people of integrity are the only people I want in my life.Buy Now$20
I purchased this street sign several years ago from Whimsic Alley, a fandom boutique here in Los Angeles, after attending my first Harry Potter convention. The Harry Potter series has been incredibly formative for me, as it has for so many in my generation: we grew up with it, and that’s powerful. I always find the House of Black and their creepy, crumbling family estate at Number 12 Grimmauld Place intensely intriguing and compelling. I’m fascinated by the disintegration and decay of places that were once grand and beautiful. That might be where my predilection for exploring abandoned buildings comes from – like I said, formative!
Last year I had the privilege of flying first class to London with 1st Class Fashion and staying at the lovely Halkin hotel in Belgravia. They took me to a private appointment with a perfumer at Floris – the oldest retailer of toiletries in England having been established 1730 – to have a bespoke perfume created according to my personal scene preferences. The resulting one-of-a-kind fragrance is the perfect blend of amethyst and citrus. I called it “Effulgence”, which means ‘a brilliant radiance’. Every time I wear it I’m transported back to that luxurious London trip, and that gorgeous historical perfumery.
Meet Pepper, my witch familiar. I love the look of black cats, but I love her personality even more – she’s the sweetest, most good-natured little cat. I adopted her from the West LA Animal Shelter earlier this year, and she’s about two years old now. Her full name is Pepper Potts – someday I’ll probably get a dog called Tony Stark.
I couldn’t resist the pun of owning a case with Sherlock Holmes on it – especially a case for my computer, which is the modern world’s primary tool for deduction. I’ve always adored Holmes in all his many iterations: there’s a romanticism and an agelessness to him that is truly timeless. The case itself is handmade, and stunning. I get a lot of people thinking I’m carrying around a giant book. Typical.