January 18, 2015

I just don't understand!

My father used to say quite often that he was just too old. He didn’t understand this world any more. Well, I’m beginning to know how he felt.           

When we’re young I think not understanding things is a good thing. We question and dissect and search for meaningful answers. And we are sure that at some point we will figure out all that life has to offer.

But as we age and those answers aren’t forthcoming and more and more things go on that seem to us ‘odd’, we start shaking our heads and saying, “I don’t get it!” with an alarming amount of regularity.

Of course, there are a myriad number of things that I have never understood and never thought that I would; i.e.: the theory of relativity, why avocados have such large pits, why nature in its infinite wisdom made mosquitoes, and who first looked at a blue crab and said, “Boy, I’ll bet that’s tasty!”  These don’t bother me.

And I am not speaking of the overwhelming questions that have plagued us since time began. Terrorism, child abuse, plagues, man’s inhumanity to man, slavery and the like. If man ever finds the answer to these maybe they’ll stop, but I don’t see it happening any time soon.

No. I’m referring to the little things that seem to have changed in my lifetime, which don’t really make a difference in my life and, in many cases, may be a change for the better for all I know, but they are like little pebbles in my shoe anyway.

Here are just few things off the top of my head that have become commonplace that I simply do not get, for your enjoyment and in no particular order.

Tattoos. This is in no way a moral judgment. I know some very lovely people who are well-tattooed. I just don’t understand why.

Using ‘I’ when you should use ‘me’.

Why so many people find wrestling fun to watch.

Beautiful women who have extreme plastic surgery.

People who live together with no intention of marrying calling referring to each other as ‘my fiancĂ©’.  Again, not a judgment of any moral kind. Just a question of proper word usage.

People wearing shorts when it’s 30 degrees out.

Waiters who ask, “Are you still working on that?”, as if the food they serve is so bad that it requires work to eat it.

Saying jewlery, instead of jewelry.

Playing electronic games for hours and hours. Also, surfing the web (if it’s still called that) for hours and hours.

Not teaching cursive writing and the times tables in grade school.

I could go on, but I’m old and crotchety and my computer-time tolerance has worn out.

January 3, 2015

Exactly What's in a Name?

It's January again and I feel I must make a few resolutions - well, maybe one. I'm not sure why. It would seem that the first day of spring is a more apt time to be thinking of renewal and change. But January first is the tradition, so I'll stick to it.  

My resolution is to finish my book by May first and to write at least one blog post a month. Since ideas are scarce, I gave up on weekly. So to begin 2015 -

What’s in a name?

A lot is written about plot development, character development, where ideas come from, etc. But lately I've been pondering character names. Where do they come from? Do most authors sit down and deliberately decide character names? Do they start with a name that they've always loved? Are they paying homage to someone or making puns on purpose?

I hadn't given this much thought before. I just sat down a picked names at random that seemed to work. Then my son, and, when asked, my sister, both thought that my policeman - tall, handsome, Bill Greene - was loosely based on my ex-brother-in-law. This never occurred to me. But when they brought this up I realized that my sister’s ex is very tall, very handsome, and is named Bill. Go figure!

My main characters are Daisy, Rose and Angela. It seems that these names just came to me. But I lately have remembered that my confirmation name is Rose. Not that I had forgotten my confirmation name. I just didn't realize that I named a character after myself.

The only truly nice guy in the Daisy&Rose series is named Tom Willis. He’s handsome, intelligent, and plays by the rules. A good guy all around. It happens that my husband is also named Tom. He’s handsome, intelligent and an all-around good guy. I know that no one will believe this, but I did not choose his name intentionally.

I have a restaurant called the Clover Tavern. The family who owns it is named Clover. This was intentional. My Dad built such a tavern in Fredericksburg, Virginia back in the day and ran it with his mother. However, until I saw it in print, I totally blanked on the fact that Penny Clover Petersen is written in big letters on the front of the book.  And then it just seemed a really odd choice.

At this point I feel that some, probably most, of you are now concerned about my mental health. You needn't worry. I've always been somewhat concerned about my mental health, but, as I am not dangerous, I just ignore it. However, I do find it fascinating that my sub-conscious mind is naming my characters without my knowledge or consent. The question now is do I continue to let the recesses of my mind do the work or do I take charge and go to the obits and the phone book?

I’d love to hear from other authors about how they name their characters.