My mother, Jackie Collins, published her first book in 1968, the year before I was born, and she published her thirty first and last book in 2015, the year she died. The years in between were spent juggling the magnitude of motherhood with the life of a highly successful writer, and my sisters and I had front row seats to her creative process. Our mother was a born storyteller. After she died, we discovered a stack of notebooks written at the tender age of thirteen entitled “These Things Called Teenagers”. We were mesmerized flicking through these beautiful artifacts, lovingly illustrated by our aunt Joan. There was Jackie Collins on the page, her gorgeous cursive handwriting, her confident and feisty tone, her vivid characters. It was both reassuring and exciting to see that her voice had always been present. In every house we lived in, our mother always had a room of her own . She called it her “study,” conjuring up visions of stuffy professors, wood paneling and book lined walls. Eternally a rebel, our mother's study was quite the opposite. The walls were lined with her extensive and diverse record collection, shiny stereo equipment, and framed family photographs. I remember when we moved from London to Los Angeles, my sister's best friend painted a beach mural behind the shelves in our mother's study, so her menagerie of porcelain “bathing beauties” could feel right at home. She was an obsessive collector of objects and art that inspired her. Art deco statuettes, sleek carvings of black panthers, ceramic leopards and tigers, carved wooden Buddhas, paintings that told a story and vintage movie posters. This passion for collecting was an extension of her creative spirit and fed her wild imagination. I could almost imagine a crowd gathered around her desk when our mother sat down to write. While writing is of course at the end of the day a solo mission, I could almost imagine a crowd gathered around her desk when our mother sat down to write. Firstly, there were her characters, who she often brought to life with only […]
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