Self-amusement as an art form:


A couple months back, I salvaged a basic coffee table my neighbors were throwing out. It was made of cheap, heavy pressboard covered in formica, with no interesting architectural details, but it was in decent shape. I already have a perfectly splendid coffee table, one which Boy-Morgan daringly rescued for me off of a construction site scrap heap during a recent visit and which I sanded and stained and varnished until it looked fresh and new.

Still, I thought there was probably something interesting which could be done with this other table.

Last night, I coated it in black acrylic paint. Then I decoupaged the top with a mixture of school glue, water, and twenty-one form rejection letters for Charlotte Dent that I've received from literary agents.


I coated the letters in varnish mixed with a drop of brown paint to bring the glaring whiteness down a notch. The effect isn't noticeable in these lousy photos (I'm still using the $20 Walgreens digital camera, and it's a good workhorse, especially outdoors, but indoor photos look pretty rough). Up close, it looks like they've been stained with coffee, or, in keeping with the struggling-author theme, with cheap whiskey and cigarettes and a thousand tears.

After the decoupage dried, I painted in a black border and coated it in varnish.


There's a possibility I spend too much time being self-amusing. I'm sure this also violates some rule of feng shui, as nothing says "bad energy" quite like keeping a whole bunch of form rejections always in sight.

Still, there was something heartening about getting some practical use out of those cursed letters. And it's a heck of a good conversation piece.

Comments

Morgan Dodge said…
I didn't know that you drink cheap whiskey. When we're out you always get something far more fun.
LOVE the coffee table. And I think there's something empowering about saying "this is what I think of your form rejection letters." Very cool!
Morgan Richter said…
Heh. Yeah, I'm not much for whiskey. I tried to develop a palate for scotch a few years back, but it didn't take. It's all about the fun drinks, preferably the kind that come with a darling plastic animal dangling off the rim.

I'm pretty sure you and I had been enjoying the fun drinks right before the legendary construction site scrap heap expedition. I still like the coffee table you rescued far more than this new one, by the way, but the new one has a certain perverse charm.
Dan said…
This is fantastic! Take that, stupid rejectors, your poorly thought-through correspondence is fit only as a temporary holding place for half-consumed mugs of coffee.
Morgan Richter said…
Thank you. Yes, I'm feeling rather smug about how well it turned out. Right now the cat is taking a nap on the rejection letters, which seems about right.

I wish I had better photos. Because in real life, it looks super-klassy.
Morgan Dodge said…
There must have been drinks before I "daringly rescued for me off of a construction site scrap heap" cause I remember it being much less glamorous than you make it sound. I was obviously in a drunken haze.

My plastic animals need more friends, btw.

Now that Dan saw it there will be rejection letter furniture chic popping up all over Australia. Typical. (No one in that apartment is ever allowed to "half consume" a cup of coffee Dan. It's a nearly religious experience, I think.)
Morgan Richter said…
It was totally glamorous! And exciting! You scraped up your arm and everything! I believe we were well-fortified with chicken pot pies and apple martinis at the time.

I'm hoping to start a wave of rejection letter furniture chic worldwide.
Ingrid said…
I hesitate to say this, but your awesome table looks not unlike the display of Illuminated Manuscripts at the Getty...

Glad to see the rejection letters going to good use...
Morgan Richter said…
Er, yes. Obviously, the illuminated manuscripts at the Getty were a large influence on me. I imagine the medieval clerics got wrist-deep in Elmers glue and shredded rejection letters, too.
Dan said…
Boy-Morgan, you have no idea. Since this idea emerged in the Australian ideaosphere yesterday, publishers have been inundated with hastily cobbled together 'novels', often just stapled-together grocery lists and old tax receipts - all in the hope of receiving rejection slips with which to emulate Girl-Morgan's coffee tabular efforts.

And this is on a weekend. When mail services resume tomorrow, Australia Post predicts a complete breakdown in services and have called for the Emergency Royal Postal Kangaroos to be reinstated.

The major publishing houses have assured Australians that we will all be rejected, but have pleaded for patience. They have sought Government assistance in this time of crisis.

The Government sent them back a nice letter, thanking them for their submission, but explaining that their request doesn't fit in with their current aid plans. They wished them the best of luck with their future endeavours.
Morgan Richter said…
I've spent the better part of an evening and a morning trying to come up with a response worthy of your comment, Dan.

In the end, I think I'm just going to go with a simple yet eloquent LOL.
Morgan Dodge said…
Dan wins... again. I can't top it either.
Dan said…
As long as I can always bring an abrupt end to a perfectly happy series of comments with lies about my homeland, I'll die a happy man.

You'll be able to tell from the grinning corpse in the coffin.
Pontouficate said…
That table rocks my world. I think it is a great big FU to those folks who obviously have no idea what they are talking about. Plus, who knew you were so dang crafty and artsy? Congrats!
Morgan Richter said…
Heh. Yes, I try to keep my artsy and crafty side well-hidden, but it emerges at times. Maybe I should start a cottage industry in self-amusing decoupage...

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