An Altered Book

Sometimes when I want to work on a book but my writing brain is too tired, I’ll do a collage of the book to help stay involved in the story world. However, for the Theodosia books, I decided to try something else–an altered book, which is basically a bunch of collages inside the pages of an old book. This altered book is really more about helping me stay fully immersed in the world, while giving my mind something else to focus on besides the words on the page. Plus, I can’t even begin to tell you how much fun it is!

So first, I had to find the right book to alter. How thrilled was I to find the above book at the library’s used book store–it’s even a translation of an Arabic poem! How perfect.

This first image was my first experiment. It’s very simple,  just a mood piece for the first book, touching on picking up Mother from the train station.

This next picture was trying to evoke the sense of showdown I knew was coming in Book Two, involving the Dreadnought, the Serpents of Chaos, and a certain prophecy regarding a red sun…

And lastly, a scene in the catacombs, with all those mummies…

While I will confess to being all thumbs when it comes to art, I do love collaging. I love the whole “found” thing aspect of the art form, the junk turned to jewels element of taking used and discarded trash and scraps and using that to create something beautiful and evocative.

It reminds me very much of writing, actually.

As a writer, I collect mental junk, a face here, a look there. The snippet of conversation I overheard at the restaurant. The scolding I heard the mother give her son at the grocery store. The surprising sight of a teenage punk driving his 80 year old grandmother around in his hyped up jalopy. A sunset. A birdsong. A remembered feeling from when I was seven years old. This is the sort of stuff writers collect in their heads, where it rolls around for years, decades sometimes, until it becomes tumbled and smoothed and juxtaposed with other things and becomes something entirely new.

9 Responses to “An Altered Book”

  1. Claire Says:

    Awesomesauce!!! I like how writers take things from real life and put them in a MENTAL STORY BLENDER and…wham! J.K. Rowling’s friend’s Ford Anglia rescues Harry. A trip to the zoo becomes a nightmarish pit of lions.

    P.S. R.L., where did you find all the old pictures? They look fascinating!!!

  2. Kara Says:

    That is so cool! So you just took a book and glued those picture’s in there? COOL! i like taking old books and putting secreat compartments in them !

  3. R.L. Says:

    Yep, Kara. Most just glue and paint and a few cut out pictures. But I have to say, making secret compartments in old books is BRILLIANT!! What a terrific idea!

  4. Sophia Says:

    Wow! I should try doing that for inspiration! I really like the gloves on the first page, and the lady sitting down…..
    By the way, your books are AWESOME! I had to wait months until
    they shipped out to where I lived because I live in Hong Kong. I am so glad I got them- they are so good! I can’t wait to get the third and fourth one. When is it coming out?

  5. Anna Says:

    That IS a good idea! Why didn’t I think of that??

  6. Claire Says:

    Wow, in Hong Kong? I didn’t even know they HAD Theodosia there!

  7. R.L. Says:

    Wow, Sophia. I bet they DID take a long time to get to Hong Kong! So glad you liked them and thought they were worth the wait!

    The third book, THEODOSIA AND THE EYES OF HORUS, will be out in April of 2011, and Book Four, THEODOSIA AND THE LAST PHARAOH, will be out a year later.

    Thanks for stopping by!

  8. Anonymous Says:

    Oh, APRIL!!!?????? My birthday is in April!!! Wow, Thanks.

  9. Kaitlyn Says:

    Very, very cool! You have a mind and eye for art, Miss RL! ;)

    I haven’t read any of the other chapters you have posted yet, because I want it to be more of a surprise when I actually read the book.

    Sorry I’ve been so quiet everyone! Actually, though it is what most would say about their life, school is clogging up my life. It’s mostly homework. My english teacher actaully asked us today about how we feel to be our ages.

    I have to go…say more later!