Most serial killers are collectors too. They often take a souvenir from the victims, like the killer, Jame Gumb, in The Silence of the Lambs, who took patches of skin from his victims to fashion a “woman suit”. Clarice Starling, a young U.S. FBI trainee, is led to the killer though hospital records in which the killer applied for a “sex-change”.
This is quite a bizarre introduction for a blog post, but The Silence of the Lambs appeals to me on different levels. Psychological thrillers is my favorite genre. Jodie Foster who played Clarice Starling, is one of my favorite actresses and her coming out as gay and marrying Ellen’s ex, the delectable Alexandra Hedison, made her all the more interesting. Then there is the killer being driven by his desire to be a different gender. Yes, I know about the outcry that the movie is transphobic, but this post is not a review. And no, I’m not going to start murdering men to acquire their “crown jewels”. Neither am I a closet serial killer, although some days at work I have the potential… It is the obsessive nature of the murderer which got me thinking about my own obsessions and collections.
I’d like to think I’m not really anal-retentive (please don’t ask B, she might just confirm that I am!), but I like things to be neat and organized. I cannot function in chaos. My mind is organized into pigeon-holes. At work, the pigeon holes contain different projects I am working on. At home, our charity work for a pet sanctuary is kept separate from my reading, writing, blogging, parenting pooch and keeping the missus happy. I guess this ability has kept me (reasonably) sane!
Wondering where this started, I remembered collecting bottle caps in my pre-teens. I wish I had kept that collection, as a number of the soft drinks are no longer available. Besides Coca-Cola and Sparletta, I remember Hubbly-Bubbly, nowadays a colloquial name for a Hookah or a water pipe used to vaporize and smoke flavored tobacco.
Then there was a time when I was obsessed by silkworms. I had them spin bookmarks on cardboard, some even in a burgundy shade after I had fed them beetroot leaves. My mom just shook her head and let me be.
In my teens, my obsession was writing poetry – I guess that goes hand-in-hand with the infatuation I had for a certain raven-haired girl in my class. This writing obsession continued through my first relationship, the break-up and six very lonely years.
It was during this time that my book collecting obsession started after discovering the author Terry Pratchett. I did not only start reading his books, but I just had to own them as well. As I work in an academic library, I could order all his books from the very first one published in 1971. And I still buy them as they are published – there are more than 40 on my bookshelf at the moment. What appeals to me is his sense of humor and getting lost in the adult fantasy world and characters of the Discworld. And of course, being a librarian (I would prefer Keeper of the Scrolls, but use Information Specialist instead), I love the character of the Librarian of the Unseen University’s Library, a wizard who was transformed into an orangutan in a magical accident and decided to remain one, as it was so convenient for his work.
A few years ago, I discovered the author J.D. Robb, pseudonym for Nora Roberts, and developed a crush on the main character in her … in Death series, futuristic (circa 2058 AD) romance-mysteries. What card-carrying butch or hot-blooded man would not have a thing for the kick-ass cop, Lietenant Eve Dallas? So, of course I started collecting the books, now also 40+ of them.
Then eBooks and eReaders raised their little electronic heads. I now can have all my Pratchetts and J.D. Robbs on one device. I do have access to a Kindle and another eReader, but I still prefer a real book dropping on my nose when I fall asleep.
I guess I am very anal-retentive after all…
What is your obsession?
* While searching for images of the skin suit, I came across this The Silence of The Lambs Cake by Annabel de Vetten of Conjurer’s Kitchen. Would you eat that?!
** Miniatures of the Discworld characters are available from Discworld Miniatures.
*** Writing about silkworms reminded me of a song, Inchworm, originally performed by Danny Kaye in the 1952 film Hans Christian Andersen.
“Inchworm, inchworm, measuring the marigolds
You and your arithmetic, you’ll probably go far.
Inchworm, inchworm, measuring the marigolds
Seems to me you’d stop and see how beautiful they are.”