Friday, December 17, 2010

My Day At The Museum

Pens are thrilled to have our pal Carolyn Jewel as a guest today! Carolyn Jewel writes historical romance for Berkley Books and Paranormal Romance for Grand Central Publishing. My Immortal Assassin, book 3 in her My Immortals paranormal series will be in bookstores everywhere January 4th, 2011.

Last month (November), I visited a writing friend in Brooklyn. (I should mention I live in California so the visit was for a week, not an afternoon.) I brought my son with me so that, in addition to writing related things I had scheduled, my son and I could do some New York-ish things. A brilliant plan! My son was broken-hearted that he was to miss a week of school, but he bore up well under the crushing disappointment.

I knew better than to overbook Things-To-Be-Seen, since that leads to exhaustion and crabbiness. I am not good with stress and overly ambitious schedules that leave no time for serendipity. Also, my son is 15. There’s only so much a teenager will tolerate from his mother and the point of the trip was not to torture him (seriously!) but to create some memories about travel actually being fun. And that serendipity thing? Four words: The Pop Tart Store.

However, I was determined that we should see the Jan Gossart exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art because the exhibit would improve my son’s mind and expand his horizons. Perhaps he would even be inspired to change his career goals from “sitting around playing Star Craft II all day” to “Renaissance Historian. “

It could happen.

It didn’t, but it could have.

Anyway, by this huge, amazing coincidence, there’s a Fantasy I want to write that involves a Renaissance-ish culture. As it happens, I was at this exact time completing revisions on a short story set in this world. My editor sent them to me the day before we were to leave for New York.

The astonishing timing of editors is the subject of a whole other post, I promise you.

When I was making plans for the New York trip and realized that the Met was going to have an entire exhibit of paintings dedicated to the very period I was using as my inspiration, I was beyond thrilled. There’s a reason English has stolen words like kismet. Also, I am a museum freak. If left to my own devices in a museum I will stop in front of each and every work of art and read every single word. And then contemplate. While writing scenes in my head.

Did I mention my son is 15? Renaissance painters are actually not his favorite thing. He was at great pains to point out to me that I was going through the exhibit slower than the stooped over, gray haired lady with a cane. Well, yeah. She was skipping stuff! The slacker. I suspect, but do not know for certain, that she was not staring at the exquisite portraits and thinking about the best way to steal the clothing for her Fantasy world. I could be wrong about that, of course.

After we finished the Gossart exhibit, we flew through some of the Georgian and Regency paintings because my son felt he had suffered enough and he had a point. Discretion, as they say, is the better part of valor. We went to the Met Store only to learn that the Gossart exhibit book will give you a hernia, so I did not purchase it at the Met. I bought it online later and let the USPS get the hernia shipping it to California.

The Museum of Natural History was much more to the 15 year old’s tastes and we spent quite a while there with nary a complaint about a certain person walking too slow while writing scenes in her head.

How did you feel about museums when you were a teenager?


Unknown said...

Hi :)
Thanks for sharing that post.
I love museums too.
I've spent many an hour at the ROM in Toronto.
All the best,

Unknown said...

Carolyn--there is a special place in heaven reserved for mothers who INSIST their children visit museums :) I will see you there.

I loved going to museums as a kid and I still stop to read the plaques. Probably because of my French culture classes, as well as reacting to the art, I love knowing the political and social ramifications of what I'm viewing.

Thanks so much for guest posting today!

Rachael Herron said...

The Pop Tart Store. I must know more about this. But as to me and museums as a kid, I was FASCINATED by all the painting that someday I thought I'd learn how to do. Oddly enough, I still can't paint. But I can daydream still...

Unknown said...

The Pop Tart Store is beyond awesome. Everything Pop Tart you could ever imagine and then more and even more!

Sophie Littlefield said...

sign me up for pop tart store please and i'll even bring my own 15 year old! Carolyn, you're so funny - i can completely see the pair of you, AND the old lady as you made your way through the show. and i agree with lisa - good for you for "gently encouraging" him...he'll do the same for his kids someday...

Juliet Blackwell said...

Hello Carolyn, and welcome to the Pens! I'm with the others -- THANK YOU for exposing your child to art and museums! Even when they kick and scream, it sinks in somewhere. ANd the Pop Tart store...YES!

Unknown said...

Heh! There were a couple of paintings that caught his eye, he wouldn't explicitly admit that, though.

Unknown said...

I am planning on visiting the Pop Tart Store when I'm in NYC next summer. I remember when it opened. What fun!

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