Name Block

When I had my children, the first one had a name way before he got here; the second one took a little longer.  She was here, in our arms, for a few hours before she had a name.  Now, I’ve given birth to a slew of characters all of whom need names.  Most of them have names, and they seem to work, but naming them all of them is tough, much more difficult than naming my own children.  My main character has gone through three or four names.  Now she’s just ______________, literally.  Somehow, she has rejected all my ideas.

Juliet says, “a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”  Essentially, we can call a person or thing by any name, and it won’t change the essence of that person or thing.  I don’t disagree, but names definitely have differing connotations.  For example, to me a “Priscilla” would be, well, prissy, while someone named “Scarlet” would probably be a much more sexual character.   When I named my children, their names “fit” them, but they also “grew” into them.  Now I can’t imagine calling them anything else, well, okay that’s not entirely true (if you’re a parent of teens, you know what I’m saying).  But generally, their names “fit” them.

Now, I’ve created a character who is fully grown and developed.  I have a picture of her in my head; we’ve had conversations.  (That may sound crazy, but if you write, I think you understand what I mean.)  I know her strengths, weaknesses, aspirations, all kinds of interesting details about her life.  But I don’t know her NAME!!!  It’s driving me crazy.  I think the hard part is that her name has to fit her right away; she can’t “grow” into it like a baby does.  I have looked through books about the time period to help create a list of names.  I’ve looked at the etymology and meaning of different names. I’ve written about her using different names, but none seem just right.  And she’s not a newborn staring at me, waiting.  I’m stuck.  I have name block.


Blogs, novels and . . . piles of fabric?

I am apparently compelled to create.  I finished a large scrappy quilt project last night, finally putting the last hand stitches in the binding and the label on the back for posterity’s sake.  I made the quilt for my sister for her 43rd birthday.  It’s a scrappy “fairy garden” for Megan.

My sister has an affinity for fairies.  I love the quilt – it’s scrappy, colorful, and fun.  The design process was especially fun, playing with all the fabrics on my design wall until I felt like the light fabrics reflected the sun shining across the garden just right.  Actually pulling each individual block off my wall and sewing got a little bit tedious, but the entire time I completed this mindless step, my mind wandered to my story.  I would sew, and then grab my notebook to take notes, sew some more, jot down a few new ideas etc.  But I kept viewing the sewing as a hindrance to my writing.  “If I could just get this quilt done, than I can really focus on my writing,” I kept thinking to myself. So last night, when I put those last stitches in, I headed to my sewing corner to clean up the last remnants of this project, determined to put my sewing projects away for awhile.

Finally, now I could focus on my writing as my sole creative endeavor.

But . . . nooo . . . apparently NOT!  That would make my life far too easy.  As I began to tidy up, I spied a really cute quilt pattern a friend gave me a few months ago.  And then I started thinking of another friend who “needs” a quilt.  I spent the next hour perusing through my fabric stash pulling browns, blues, creams, grays, and some unexpected pops of orange and red.  It’s going to be a great quilt!

I kept “yelling” at myself as I was pulling fabric.  “Really Amy, what are you doing?  Remember, you wanted to finish quilting for a while! Do you need to do this?”  But I finally had to admit to myself that it’s the creative process that’s important.  My mind runs a zillion miles an hour, but sewing is almost meditative for me.  I can think.  So maybe that pattern I spied in the corner was God’s little nudge saying, this is part of how you write.  Use it.  Okay God, I get it.  So now, I still have, a blog to write, a novel to plot, and . . . a pile of fabric to play with.

April Fool Story Freak

Happy April fool’s day everyone.  Yesterday I ran into a friend at Wal-mart who said that she was going to a wedding today!  Really?!  Who gets married on April fool’s day?  That seems like just asking for trouble.  Maybe I’m too superstitious but April 1 is NOT a date I would pick for my wedding!  There must be an interesting story there because getting married on April fools day must have been the only option.  I’ve always had an internal commentator on life, but now the commentator is telling “back stories” so by the time I left Wal-mart this wedding couple whom I have never met had become a tragic pair who could only marry on April 1 due to dire circumstances – not a great story but now I can’t stop this story thing from happening – ack!

Since I decided to commit to writing, I’ve turned into this freaky narration story person.  Everything I hear, read, or even see is becoming a potential story which my over active brain instantly begins narrating in a weird third person way.

Does this happen to everyone who writes?

At first I wondered if this is normal, but then I realized what’s normal?  And do I want to be normal anyway? I think not.  Maybe this is a sign I’m truly internalizing this whole idea of being a writer. I like that thought – no fooling!  So, I’ll just keep writing (and continually narrating back stories about life to myself).