I am inspired by Schloss Neuschwanstein.
King Ludwig II used the castle to escape to a place where he could dream of being the absolute monarch he always wanted to be (it was a constitutional monarchy by this point). He did this by having a series of meditations or reminders in each room about purity: being pure enough to be worthy or acceptable to God. His ideal was the swan knight or Lohengrin.
Here's a detail of a painting from an old hand-colored postcard (found on Wikimedia Commons):
Other examples of the paintings are here at the castle's official website. (Take the tour and see more) Here's one with a closeup of one of the wall paintings. Scroll down 5 images for a detail of the throne room -- look at the borders and the floor!
If you have ever visited Neuschwanstein you know that none of those photos even come close to do it justice, to seeing it up close. If you haven't, I hope you understand what I'm getting at.
Leanne, what's your point?
I'd like to do an altered book with some of you. Ludwig used beautiful images to inspire him and affirm what he longed to be. How about each of us either look at what we think keeps us from God (you know, even though we might intellectually know that nothing does), or perhaps a long-held aspiration, an impossible dream even, and make that the theme of our book.
As we pass it around we create a beautiful, detailed spread, that is not busy, but calming, and inspires us to reach for the impossible--or what has always been in our grasp if we'd just had eyes to see it right there.
My initial suggestion is that we do a two page spread (facing pages) using the Romantic imagery of the courtly medieval era. There are plenty of Victorian era (and earlier) paintings to inspire us. The pages would be of an ornate quality, a place to put a hidden (optional) meditation on what you feel is a barrier between you and God (or your impossible dream), using the image as a basis for that meditation. So not only do you receive the artist's hope for you in achieving the dream or removing obstacles to God, but you have a place to respond to it.
Also, Ludwig II had a liet-motif (ok, he had a few): an image that repeats again and again in the art and sculpture of this castle. For him it was the swan. What would be yours?
One more rule: I must either know you through actually meeting you, hanging out with you in the blogging world, or such a friend vouches for you because they want you to play too.
(another Wikimedia Commons image: this from the Library of Congress. Isn't it pretty?)
Who is in? Am planning to start this in earnest at the beginning of February, so we have the month of January to find a book and our particular theme.