Besides having a great name, Ransom Riggs is a good fellow (we once sat on a panel together at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books) who's in the habit of making relics. Sort of.
As I was thinking about Umberto Eco and my personal artifacts in a previous post, Riggs came to mind. The plot of his novel "Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children" was influenced by all the unusual black-and-white vintage photographs scattered throughout the book. The pics don't belong to his family history, they're not self-generated: No, he acquired them at flea markets. They were context-less when he found them: no captions, nothing to explain them.
That left him free to invent his own stories (reminds me a little of what Chris Van Allsburg does in his children's book "The Chronicles of Harris Burdick"). Riggs also does the same in a new book, "Talking Pictures: Images and Messages Rescued from the Past" (It Books).
I wish I had the energy to rove like him through flea markets for interesting old spars of knowledge, dim wares of price (E.P.). That doesn't mean I'm without my own relics, though. A few are:
icon of St. Nicholas (previously mentioned)
rocks and shells (from many places)
a tarnished ruble (from Kiev)
Shiva Nataraja figurine (from a departed close friend)
Drawings by my sons (obvious)
My father's chunky $5 ring (obvious too)
A daruma doll
Movie ticket (first date with my wife)
So, now that I've shared some of mine, turn to your own shelves and desk drawers. You must have relics.
What are yours?