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Ever since I read my first Dan Brown novel I was fascinated with symbolism. I began to make a conscious effort to notice symbols around me, realizing that they were everywhere. To me, back then still in my teens, it was kind of a shock to realize how much symbolism was around us, yet nobody seemed to notice.
Symbols as old as any kind of written language changed their meaning throughout time, some started out representing all that was good only to become a representation of pure evil over time. Symbolism is the most adaptable language and one that is most wide spread, yet never uniform. The combination of different symbols, creating new one, can be as fascinating as inventing Klingon must have been to whoever did that.
Symbols are all around us. Some we know well and don’t seem to really notice that they speak to us in their own way. Like the cross, used by the church. We see it everywhere, people wear it around their necks, its on the Bible and on every Christian Church. It represents a religion, the pain Jesus went through, it stands for sacrifice and pain, but also the soul and the believe in good. It is well known, its associations ingrained in many Christians, but it wasn’t always a representation of the Christian religion. However, as far as I could find out during research it has always been a religious or spiritual symbol. It’s most basic meaning was the crossing of the worldly and other-worldly/spiritual world. Its representation can be found in hieroglyphs of old Egypt, in ancient Greek scriptures or ancient Celtic art.
Another symbol most know off is the swastika, only it’s meaning has been greatly changed by use of one man who was more then just evil. In ancient times, it was a symbol of good fortune, now it represents racism, murder, genocide and hate. If one was to paint it on their door, or God forbid, wear it as some form of jewelry, they would be ladled a Nazi no matter that the Swastika had a different meaning once.
Another symbol we see often throughout our life is the Nike Logo. Yes, as surprising as it might be to some, but it’s quite ancient. The logo composes of the word Nike who was the winged, ancient Greek Goddess of victory, and the swoosh below the word is a representation of Hermes’s winged feet, representing speed. Together they present victory and speed, exactly what the brand is trying to represent with their footwear.
In ancient times symbols where a way of communication, they were part of rituals and of great importance. Nowadays we are still surrounded by them but most don’t know their meaning, origin, or purpose. They have become so common that we don’t even see them anymore unless we look with conscious eye. Yet symbolism is a whole world to be discovered and it’s on everyone’s fingertip to do so if they want. Just look around you and notice all the symbols around you, you might be surprised on what you find. To this day we use symbolism to convey meanings, and we still are inventing new symbols every day, combining old ones into new ones with new meanings.
To demonstrate what I mean here is a symbol I created for a book cover I designed and then place on merchandise.
The Alpha and Omega are representing the beginning and the end. These Greek letters are overshadowed by a star, only it’s not a star it’s the rays of the sun radiating outwards. This is a representation of Apollo, who aside form other things, was the Greek God of Prophecy. In its center is planet earth with all its inhabitants. In it’s entirety the symbol represents a phorophyte made about mankind that will spread from the beginning of mankind’s existence to its end.
It’s an old and well-known truth that a good writer is an avid reader, and most of the time an eclectic reader as well. Now, I have been asked on several occasions why I write if I have a goal or a message when writing. The answer to that is easy, yet complex.
When I write my goals are my expectations as a reader. I know sounds weird and complicated.
As a reader I like to read stories, no matter the genre that are emotionally deep and complex, that are well researched and hold facts within their fiction. I like characters like you and me, fashioned after people you could encounter on the street, in the subway or at work. I read books with a plot that has meaning, not just boy meets girl, falls in love, and they have sex and live happily ever after. I want plots that have the best and the worst of humanity, where tragedy and drama can be overcome and survived and where characters have to fight for what they want. That combined automatically produces a story with meaning, with a message and with a plot I can relate to at some level.
When writing, all that I expect to find in a book I want to read, are my goals in what I write. Do my books have a message? Yes, sometimes it’s a very simple one like, hang in there, don’t give up, fight for what you want. Sometimes it is more specific like, rape can be overcome, love deserves a second chance, disabilities are no reason not to fulfill your dreams or family is important.
Do I have a goal? Rarely at the beginning, simply because I let the story guide me, so ergo there is no goal when I start out. However, once I’m done with the first draft that often changes. The story might develop into one (like Waiting in the Wings) that raises awareness for domestic abuse victims, demonstrating that the victim can still love and trust, it just isn’t easy. It might make a statement against rape, theft, discrimination, racism and anything else. But I never plan in advance on such a goal.
I spend hours researching, communicating with a specialist when I can, talking to people who have lived through one tragedy or another, in order to make my story believable and bring even fantasy into the realm of possibility.
I study people, in simple settings like a restaurant, in the mall or on the street. What they do, how they move, or how they communicate.
Now, why do I write? Easy, because I can and because I love it. There are stories of me and I want to tell them, share them, and the easiest way is with a book. Those are the main reasons, however, there is also the fact that I can use the money, I would be a big liar if I wouldn’t admit that. The main reason still is because I want to share my stories, and if I were a millionaire I would share them for free, but I’m not, so I don’t.
Why do you write or read?