It might be an image in a glossy magazine, a piece of writing in a novel, a song that always delivers us to some inspiration place (Bon Jovi: You give love a bad name?!?!), or a discarded photo we find on the floor. Your imagination can be fired at any point by the things we come into contact with. By collecting together these pointers and keeping them with us, in a book or on a wall in front of us, we prolong that contact and thereby take ownership of it.
Collecting inspiration is a kind of dreaming, pulling together random fragments, imagery, and ideas so we can explore a tale they are trying to tell us. We need to think of collections as our little theatre of items. We need to let them play out a story and see what happens.
The way I see it, collections are reminders, friends, or an evidence of a life.