If you’ve read Is This Me?, hopefully you noticed the swallow on the charm bracelet at the beginning of each chapter as well as the pair in the section breaks. One of the most frequently asked questions is "Why the swallow?". So, I wanted to explain the symbolism behind the swallow image.
In the beginning, the working title for Is This Me? was Far From the Tree. The image behind this title was a tree with birds flying to and from, as well as perched on, the branches. The thought was that the tree was a symbol of home and family. The birds symbolized a child growing up and leaving home but returning to find comfort. When the title changed I wanted to keep the image of Amanda venturing out but maintaining a connection with her family.
I did some research into birds and found that the swallows nest in the same site year after year. Even if they migrate they return to the same area, often to the same nest. Further, they keep a single mate for life. Swallows symbolized different things around the world and through history. Some legends say the swallow brought fire to man, explaining the fork tail that was burned in the process. In ancient Greece and Rome the Gods were thought to change into swallow form. In Egypt they carried the souls of the dead and were considered sacred. During the age of exploration, sailors adopted the swallow as a symbol of their voyage, perhaps because they were the first sign land was near. The number of swallow tattoos they received depended on their journey’s length. Later, they adopted the practice of getting one swallow before they left and another upon return.
I liked the parallel between Amanda’s story and that of the swallow, migrating from its home but returning each year, and decided to use it as a symbol for my book series. I hope this gave some insight into my choice of the swallow in graphics for the book series.
All the best,
When I decided to create a blog I committed to myself to write once a week. In a business mastermind group, one of the attendees asked me, do you really have fifty two ideas. That day I started a list of blog ideas. These ideas were formed from elements of my story, Is This Me? One of the biggest issues for the main character was a choice to omit sharing two key pieces of information from close friends and family. Of the about twenty topics that went on that page, writing about lying felt the most daunting.
Most likely each of us has lied before. Who, as a teenager, hasn’t lied to their parents about why they were late, or whether they’d finished their homework? I looked up several articles on lying and when it may be acceptable to lie. Lying is considered by almost all to be wrong. It was interesting to me to read why that is. I think we innately know but it is hard to put into words. A BBC article on ethics and lying cataloged why lying is wrong, beyond it just being morally wrong, for a society. The reasons include: it diminishes trust between people, alienating people from each other, it treats those who are lied to as a means to achieve the liar’s purpose (think Adolf Hitler), and when a person is lied to they can’t make informed decisions (again Hitler). So lying hurts society because it creates distrust, harbors manipulation, and keeps people from making the best decisions.
Beyond hurting others, lying, even telling white lies causes stress, erodes self-esteem, and distances us from those we care about. In an article for Oprah Magazine Martha Beck writes, “… the truth almost always sets us free. But not all situations demand the same level of openness.” Her rules are: #1 be truthful to yourself, #2 be as truthful as often as possible to a loved one, #3 the more honest you are with acquaintances the better the relationship, and #4 if you want to kill a relationship, lie.
I created a protagonist who lies, and lying may be one of the worst character flaws. The question then became, would a reader like her? Could they relate to her? How could she be described so she would be likable? What facts could I include in the story so that she seemed like a good person? Would a reader assume that someone with good relationships with family and friends be a morale person in general? If you agreed with Martha Beck then it might be true.
Until next time,
You can read more of the BBC article at http://www.bbc.co.uk/ethics/lying/lying_1.shtml. You can read all of Martha Beck’s article at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/05/05/when-is-it-ok-to-lie_n_5227369.html.
As I thought about a blog topic for this week, the 9/11 Memorial Patriot’s Day and National Day of Remembrance and Service was in the front of my mind. My daughter is in a U.S. society class and to help the kids see how history is relevant to them they are collecting information of major family events from the years 2001 to present. The first question she asked was “Where were you on 9/11?”
The 9/11 National Day of Remembrance and Service was started in 2002 to honor victims, their families, survivors, and responders of the tragedy. Being a part of this remembrance can help not only survivors and families but also volunteers feel more connected to and proud of our community and its strengths.
Volunteering on any level not only benefits those we serve but our own sense of well-being. It connects us to others, build self-confidence, can help combat depression, keep us physically active, and offers opportunities for career connections as described in the article here http://www.helpguide.org/articles/work-career/volunteering-and-its-surprising-benefits.htm.
Not only does volunteering offer these benefits but it strengthens communities and fosters a sense of pride and connectedness between people. To find out more and learn how you can get involved you can go to the National Day or Remembrance and Service official site at http://www.serve.gov/?q=site-page/september-11th-national-day-service-and-remembrance. As for me I’ll be hugging my kids, calling my family, volunteering at the neighborhood school, and offering up well wishes for all those affected by 9/11.
Happy National College Colors Day! I hope you’re sporting your college’s colors today! As you can see by my graphic above, I have a bit of a dilemma. Yes, I attended three universities within the state of Georgia. So which colors will I wear? You’ll have to read to the end to find out!
In picking my first University I got three things right. First, it was the right size for me, second, it was in the right setting, and third it had all the courses I wanted. What I got wrong was that it was the wrong kind of school for me. This biologist just didn’t belong at an engineering school!
The second University I attended was perfect. It met the first three criteria above plus was a liberal arts school and had night classes. This was important because by this time I needed money.
The third University I attended for a graduate program. It was a larger school, but the perfect one for my program. As a graduate student I blocked out all the other college stuff like football games and campus clubs.
I found it interesting that North Dakota published a document called the Top Ten Reasons NOT to Choose a College. The list includes: your boyfriend or girlfriend goes there, your best friend is going there, it’s a party school (which one isn’t?), you decided in 7th grade you wanted to go there, your mom and dad went there, it has a good football team, your school counselor said it was a good pick, it is pretigious, tuition is low, and it looks good in the guidebook (ie. go visit!). Find their document at http://www.nd.gov/cte/crn/docs/ReasonsNotToChooseCollege.pdf.
So now I must answer the question of which colors will I be wearing. Several factors played into my decision. The first school I attended was the only one where I had the true college experience and participated in campus organizations. I had a blast and my husband will attest to the fact that I wore this college’s sweatshirt until it fell apart. I have to admit that I didn’t ever buy any item with the second University’s logo. The only piece of clothing with a University’s logo I own now is…UGA’s! Red and black..go Dawgs! Sic ‘em! Woof, woof, woof! It’s a Georgia thing. Many apologies to my wonderful Tech and State friends! Send me a shirt and I’ll wear it next year!