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  • Debra Palmen

Time flies ….


Time flies when you’re having fun, right? Right?

It’s better than the alternative, which is time flies when you’re getting old. I vote for fun.

I went to the doctor recently to look at a potential skin cancer. He’s a specialist in the area and it’s a thing here in sunny Queensland, which has been particularly sunny this summer.

He peered closely at my face.

Silence.

He adjusted his position and peered even more closely.

He said “Hmmm” a lot.

He said “Ahhh” a lot.

Finally, he said “I have a diagnosis”.

I couldn’t help but feel a little tense. “Tell me” I said.

“Age” he said. And then he laughed! How rude!

But while it might look like I’m getting old, actually time is flying because I’m having fun. And to prove you can be old but still dang attractive, in this post I'm featuring a few bits and bobs that we'll be offering at the Collectorama antiques fair tomorrow. It's a fraction of our stock, and our stand should be looking pretty marvellous, if I say so myself.

And talking of fun, I must say this book writing process is great fun. You know I'm helping Calypso write her first book in a series called A Cat’s Tale. The first book is subtitled Sink or Swim, and it’s coming soon. It’s about how Calypso helps her girl Tallulah overcome her fear of the water and learn to swim - so she can then host a fabulous swim party on her luxury yacht. As you do.

The illustrator is based in Hungary and I’m having a terrific time collaborating with her. It’s a heap of work, but very satisfying. I send the illustrator a detailed brief for each illustration, from which she produces several drafts that we tinker with, finally moving into colour drafts that we tinker with, and eventually the final illustration. The series is set in Paris in the 1920s (although Calypso and Tallulah have adventures all over the world), and we’re taking care to get the Art Deco fashion just right.

Meanwhile, I’ve finished the final chapter of my own book and we’re now into the editing phase. I’ll be running a poll on FB to get your input and feedback on potential titles for that one. I’m also looking at illustrations for the chapter heads for that book, and it’s a hugely drawn-out process to find just the right image. But fun.

The plan is to publish my book first, while I wait for the illustrations to be completed for Calypso’s first and second books. Her Book 2 is called That was Zen, This is Meow and it's about how Calypso and Tallulah travel to Japan so Calypso can help Tallulah learn to become a ninja. All cats are natural-born ninjas, so Calypso doesn't need any training. According to publisher guidelines, with a series it’s always better to publish more than one in quick succession if possible. I would have liked Calypso's first three books to be published simultaneously, and I could do that if I’m prepared to wait until about August, but I’m too impatient.

Visual story-telling has quite a science behind it. Who knew? So if you want your illustrations to look effort-less and flowing, a great deal of thought has to go into the brief. Thank goodness the illustrator is a well experienced commercial artist, and I’m learning much from her about how to make my briefs easier to interpret for future books.

Did you know, for example, that whatever you have a character looking at, that’s what the reader will automatically also look at? In print advertising, if you have a model look at a product, the brand recognition goes up by 80% over having the model look directly at the reader. In storybooks such as Calypso’s she’s allowed to look directly at the reader because she’s the narrator and can engage. But any other characters in the book can’t look directly at the reader. It’s called “breaking the 4th wall” and it breaks the ‘spell’ of a story. You never see characters on The Bold & The Beautiful look directly at the camera, do you? They look aghast or evilly or thoughtfully or tearfully into the middle distance at the end of a dramatic scene, beyond the camera, but never directly at the camera.

I shall take up B-Grade television script writing before long, with all I’m learning about what works and what doesn’t. Hopefully it will all be reflected in Calypso’s books looking lovely. Fingers crossed. All will be revealed very soon.

Meanwhile, on the antiques front we’ve not taken a pop-up shop so far this year because we haven’t found a suitable location. Well actually there was an acceptable spot in a local town but the contact number was only for a real estate agent, not the owner. Real estate agents have little interest in pop-ups, and they would often rather owners go without rent for a month or two rather than tell them of short-term interest. How slack is that? So that shop remained empty for January, I didn’t have a pop-up and the owner didn’t get any rent. But the real estate agent also didn’t have to do any work and that’s what counts, right?

But we are doing really quite well at the Peregian Beach Market each fortnight. I mix it up by bringing new things out each time, and the response has been very positive. Yay! As I mentioned earlier, the first Collectorama antiques fair for the year will be held tomorrow, Saturday 2 March, at the Nambour Showgrounds (7.30am – 2pm), and we’ll be taking our usual double-stand there. It’s a huge amount of work – just unpacking and setting up takes at least four hours – but it’s always worth it.

In addition to showing new stock that hasn’t yet made it out at Peregian, I’ve delved deep into our garage and found some very nice pieces. I’ve included a couple of photos here of a few bits and bobs we’ll be offering. The lidded copper pot and the enormous copper preserving pan date from about 1820, and they're gorgeous. We've worked hard to get a lot of beautiful old copper ready for display, and it should look speccy. That's the plan. If you have a chance, it will be great to see you there.


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