Certain objects I cherish because they were gifts from people I cherish, or special memories halo them. When I inherited my mother’s and two grandmothers’ jewelry, I immediately picked out the pieces I remembered the most vividly, the pieces I’d known since my childhood. I cherish them because of their connections to the first women in my life.
In terms of my fiction, characters reveal themselves with the objects important to them, or by the objects they despise. Evan Quinn, the protagonist of my novel, Perceval’s Secret, gives up everything he owns for freedom and a new life. As I explored his new life and how he would live it, I discovered that he does not cherish material objects except for those related to his heart and soul, i.e. classical music. His new violin and grand piano are important to him, his library of music scores, and his digital recordings of music. I was surprised because I also didn’t see him as cherishing people but being disconnected from people. One of his challenges is making emotional connections with people. The absence of cherished objects in his life reveals the dearth of emotional connections for this character, and his attitude toward memory.
My most cherished object? My human body is essential to my life and I cherish her. I have emotional connections with her, memories, and challenges. She is my partner in physical existence, in daily living. She is also my first home, the home and shelter of my consciousness and personality. It has taken me a lifetime, though, to really appreciate her in that way.
As a child, I learned to view my body like a machine that required fuel to run and regular tune ups. My parents didn’t believe in praise or compliments for their children because they did not want them to become conceited and selfish, so they didn’t provide any truly positive messages about my body. I did not believe my body was good, attractive or even helpful in life when I was a child.
My memories connected to my child’s body (and later) involve both sensory memories and memories in my conscious mind. Body memories, i.e. physical sensations connected to a memory, tend to be painful rather than pleasurable. My parents believed in corporeal punishment and were liberal in its use. My other memories improve as I mature, going from ignorance, embarrassment, abusing my body with junk food and not exercising, to major changes in perspective. I began running in my 20’s and that propelled the healthy changes in diet, clothing, and connection with my physical self.
Now, as I deal with chronic illness, I am acutely aware of the role my body plays in my life, her pain, her pleasure, and my responsibility to her. She deserves to be cherished in every way, cared for with the most profound attention, and protected.
More Cherished Object stories at Cherished Linky List.