I always feel like somebody’s watching me!

166 eyes stare at me from my home office wall. I’m not delusional. It’s nothing creepy. Our house isn’t haunted. It’s my family’s POP collection.

Funko POPS are plastic figures of pop culture characters from movies, television, music, and games. And since 2014, my family has collected them. Sometimes they distract me from my work…like today…as I brainstorm the role they play in my life.

Here are some reasons we collect them…

POPS are an achievable goal. I have lots of goals for my writing career, stories I hope to get published, places I want to visit, people I hope to meet. POPS give some order to the otherwise uncontrollable parts of life. The wall is a tribute to our successes over time.

The thrill of the hunt is energizing! We don’t just buy any POP—we set out on a specific mission to find a specific character. If you’ve ever seen a POP display at a store, it’s usually a wall of shelves a few POPS deep. We have been known to move, rearrange, and search through every box in our hunt. (It took us forever to find a Dana Scully to go with our Fox Mulder, and King Aragorn was particularly elusive.) A forty-something woman looks out of place at Hot Topic, but I don’t care when POPS are at stake.

They offer an excuse to treat ourselves. A few weeks ago at Target, with no intention of a POP purchase, we spotted Gilderoy Lockheart. “Oh, we need him,” was my gut reaction. I had a few bucks in my pocket, so why not? And it’s not just me. Once when my husband and I went shopping, and had split up for a while, I rounded the corner and he was holding a large Barnes and Noble bag and a guilty look on his face. POPS had been on the clearance shelf.

Collecting is a family affair. We all have our favorites. My husband is partial to superheroes and Star Wars. My favorites are Game of Thrones (only the good guys) and my little Charlie Bucket with his golden ticket. My kids have an eclectic mix of the British royals, Harry Potter, Hunger Games, Breaking Bad, Stranger Things, Sherlock, and many more.

POPS make us happy. The collection is not about money, or how much all these little plastic figures are worth (although we do keep the boxes).  It’s about the emotional, nostalgic connection created when you have a symbol to represent a character you enjoyed watching or reading about.

The POPS lived somewhat randomly around the house for a while. But as they army grew, we decided we needed to display them. We built shelves on my office wall, a room tucked away just enough so that guests aren’t immediately confronted with our nerdiness (unless we decide to show them), but still in the main traffic of every day family activities. Mostly, though, I wanted them in the room where I write—because when I look at them, even though they don’t have mouths of their own, they make me smile.

And all those eyes—83 sets—keep me accountable to stay on task while I work at my desk. I know the POPS may only be made of plastic, but they are making sure I get my work done.

 

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  1. I am currently in “order and simplification” mode. So my first question (after, admittedly, asking what are POPS?) was, how often do you dust these? And then I thought back to an SCBWI article about critique groups. And how, in the best groups, members scold the host if her (or his) house is dust-free, since this meant she was taking time away from writing to clean before the meeting. So may your POPS continue to bring you pleasure and inspiration, and may they always be dusty as a testament to your constant creative endeavors!

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