The other day a friend gave me a guided tour of her collection of teapots that fill several shelves in her dining room. This one was from China, and another was over a hundred years old. She found a fancy one with a rose pattern in an antique shop in London. An exquisite Belleek pot occupied a special place. As she showed me each one, she took it from the shelf and fondled it like a pet while she told how she came to have it.
“These teapots are like windows on your life. Each has quite a story to it. Have you written them down?” I finally asked.
“No. Now and then I think of it, but I just never seem to get around to it.” She paused. “I think one of the reasons I’ve delayed starting is not knowing how to go about it,” she finally admitted.
“Don’t try to do this all at once,” I cautioned her. “Just do one pot at a time. Pick any pot, put it on the table in front of you and sit down with a blank piece of paper and pen. Write a short note telling how you came to have this teapot. Did you buy it yourself? Where did you find it? What was the shop like? How did it catch your eye? What made it special? Was it a bargain or a splurge?”
She looked intrigued. “That doesn’t sound so hard. I think I could do that, but surely there’s more to it than that.”
“There doesn’t have to be. Just getting the place and price down would be valuable. But I can tell by the way you hold these pots that they each have special meaning for you; the more of this meaning you include in their stories, the more interesting the pots will be to future owners. Have you ever wondered what their lives were like before you found each other?”
She was nodding eagerly, so I went on to suggest that she include details of occasions when she used that specific teapot. What memories of friends were associated with each? Did one make tea taste different from another? What would make her chose any given pot on a particular day?
Beyond that was the matter of arranging the finished stories. She liked the idea of an album she planned to name “All My Little Teapots,” with a picture of one pot on each page, and the story of that pot pasted beside it with lovely scrapbooking paper to set it off. If the story was a long one, and a few would be, she would allow more pages in the album for it. She quickly realized that she’d need a rather large album, because she’d need to tell the stories of the friends and relatives who gave her the pots, and the trips she’d taken to find others.
“I’m so excited about this now! I can’t wait to get started!” From the far-away look in her eyes, I could tell that her muse was paying a get-acquainted visit, and I’d best get out of the way.
I can’t wait to read the stories she writes. Do you have a collection or few around your house? You can add value to the collection by recording its story, and just think what a great excuse it is to spend time with each item. Don’t let it gather another coat of dust before you set pen to paper.
Sharon Lippincott, aka Ritergal