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After much thinking thinking thinking, I’ve started taking pictures for Arabelle’s story and am having so much fun—I haven’t set up vignettes for  dolls since I was eight. I’m stunned by the amount of set-up time each shot requires and delighted to discover that all the props I need are in my own house; it’s as though everything I collected for my daughters’ doll-playing days was really for me and it’s been waiting all this time for me to figure that out. In this picture (one of many, many more), Arabelle and Miss Monkey (that’s been her name for 27 years so I don’t dare change it), are roasting marshmallows in front of their clubhouse, Alpha Centauri. My apologies to any neighbors who saw me stretched out on my stomach trying to take pictures (not a pretty sight) and put up with the little campfire in the front garden (that produced a disproportionate amount of smoke). Heartfelt thanks, too, for the neighbor who signed on as my production assistant on the spot—it would have been ugly out there without you, Erin.

My inspiration for Arabelle’s story is Dare Wright‘s The Lonely Doll, a story in photographs that made a huge impression on me when it was presented by a favorite babysitter on my 9th birthday. I still have it.

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