Joy in Objects

Wicked friends, the theme for November, this month of gratitude and thanksgiving (small t and large) is JOY. We’re going to look at things that give us joy.

Marie Kondo, queen of tidying and decluttering, recommends that when deciding what to keep or pitch, you should pick an object up and see if “it sparks joy.” She defines joy as unique to every person, but describes it as “…a little thrill, as if the cells in your body are slowly rising.”

Wickeds, tell me about one object of yours that can always be can always be counted on to spark joy. And then tell me about one character of yours and one object the always sparks joy for that character.

Edith/Maddie: This might sound odd, but I’m going for our couch. It was Hugh’s when I met him nearly twenty years ago, and is a dark blue leather more than five feet long – I know, because I can stretch out on it for a Sunday afternoon nap. I spend a lot of time curled up in one corner next to a good reading lamp, often with a cat curled up next to me. For Cece Barton, it’s her backyard garden (also not quite an object). She putters in it nearly every morning, does her Pilates and meditation on the patio gazing at the garden, and generally finds it a place of solace and peace, plus home-grown veggies and herbs.

(On a side note, I love the meme that cycles around: “Kondo told me to get rid of things that don’t bring me joy. So far I’ve ditched the bra, the to-do list, and the husband.”)

Sherry: Laughing, Edith! I had a tough time with this one because our home is filled with things I love. But I finally boiled it down to a painting that a friend of ours painted for us about thirty years ago. It’s a painting of a vineyard our friends used to own and we’ve visited. Plus I love the colors and the style. Sarah Winston loves sitting in her grandmother’s rocking chair. It sits by a window that overlooks the town common. If she’s worried she rubs her hands across the smooth wood of the arms and she thinks through problems.

Julie: We are in the process of selling our parents’ house, which means I’m inheriting a lot of objects that give me joy, all because of memories. Right now I’ll include the old oak dresser that was my grandmother’s, and likely her mother’s. My mother used it to hold hats and mittens and wrapping items. I’m using it to hold knitting and needlework items. Since my grandmother taught me how to do both, I think of her a lot. As for characters? Sully Sullivan in the Theater Cop series has her father’s chair. In the Garden Squad series, Lilly has the art pieces in her garden that serve as memorials to her loved ones.

Barb: You know I’ve heard a lot about this “sparking joy” thing but never really thought too much about it. Then, just the other day, I was tossing a small L.L. Bean catalog that came in the package with a sweater I ordered. We had a bit of a tradition when my kids were in school of visiting their grandmother in Boothbay Harbor, Maine on a fall weekend, and on the way home, stopping in Freeport to shop for winter coats or boots or backpacks or whatever they needed that year. As I held the catalog in my hand all the happiness of those days came rushing back to me. I’m sure at the time we were harassed and harried, worried about jobs and mortgages and did the kids do their homework for tomorrow? But the memory the catalog sparked was one of pure joy. I had no trouble throwing the catalog out, however. About two hours later, sitting in my room as the afternoon sky grew dark, I was flooded with sadness by the very same memory, missing those days so long gone and missing my younger self. So joy and sadness and funny how we invest both, and all sorts of emotions in objects.

Julia Snowden in the Maine Clambake Mysteries loves pulling the few objects her mother inherited from her once-wealthy family out of the china cabinet and setting the table for a feast with family and friends.

Jessie: I love reading about all of your joyful items! For me, there are so many things! If I have to choose just one at this very moment it is a knitted shawl that I am creating for the sweetheart of one of my sons. Knitting things and imagining how much someone else will enjoy them makes me a bit giddy! As for my characters, I would have to go with Beryl Helliwell. She adores piloting her red convertible along winding country roads almost as much as I love driving mine! We both love to put the top down on sunny winter days, just because!

Readers: What is an object that sparks joy for you?

15 Thoughts

  1. I’m with Barbara – all the little things my kids have made or notes they’ve written spark joy and nostalgia. Anything to do with my grandma is also always a keeper- from teacups to Celeste, the doll who sat upon her bed. And of course- Anonymouse! A red and white crocheted mouse my Aunt Mary made me who is flat from years of hugging 💕

  2. Photos of the grandkids of course. And then there are the tiny objects that friends have given over the years that sit throughout my home. Some are holiday related but always stay visible to give me a reminder to smile.

  3. For me, it’s my camera that brings me joy. It’s what draws me outside more than sunshine. With it in hand, times slows down and I take the time to enjoy and appreciate the things around me. Looking through the lens of a camera, you look at the world in a whole different world. You can see beauty where others don’t even see the object – like a fallen leaf that others step over or step on crushing the beauty. You can realize how fragile life is by observing a butterfly only to have it snatched up by a bird in the cycle of life of eat or be eaten. Whether I’m sitting on the porch or off exploring new places across town or across the country, my camera is 90% of the time close by. You never know when something will catch your eye and that fleeting moment to capture something to enjoy for years to come will appear.
    2clowns at arkansas dot net

    1. My husband is an avid iPhone photographer and though his focus is street photography and people, he also is never far from his camera. (Though I wouldn’t say his phone brings him unmitigated joy.)

  4. A teddy bear I’ve had since I was a baby. Since it’s a bit scratchy and not very huggable, it has stayed in excellent condition. He lives on our bed and gets a hug every morning and night.

  5. One item that comes to mind is a Christmas ornament that my brother and sister-in-law used to announce that my niece was coming. It had “My favorite uncle” on it. While I’m no longer the favorite uncle (my niece and nephew now have two uncles so I share the designation), I still smile when I see it every year.

  6. Edith/Maddie – I love the meme that says the villian in the next Toy Story movie will be Marie Kondo. 🙂
    I am actually a minimalist and love Marie Kondo. I only have things in my home that are functional or that I love. My favorite object at the moment is a little blue stuffed Snoopy. It reminds me of my dog Blue. aprilbluetx at yahoo dot com

  7. I have a Mu. It’s a stylized cat made of three stones one atop the other and it’s meant to be a meditation aid. There is something so peaceful about the expression that it always brings me joy

  8. I love so many things that give me joy–my Grandmother Gilbert’s rocking chair that my husband lovingly refinished for me, my Grandmother Runyon’s Singer treadle
    sewing machine in cabinet, my good yellow etched depression glasses (not the cheaper kind) that were my husband’s grandmother’s, a Singer Featherweight sewing machine (with the case, tools and a wooden card table that it fits in) that my mother got as a wedding gift in 1941 along with an Oster blender that she also got as a wedding gift, my first antique which was an RCA victrola (though it has not been refinished), and so many more of our collections. But one of the coolest items was a Christmas list that I had made for my Daddy when I was a child. It was folded up to keep in his pocket (his file cabinet) along with other things of his. The list was cool, because he marked what he had been able to get for me. I need to go back and pull it out and see what year it was. I can’t get rid of hardly anything and so our house has no more room in it.

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