the meaning of things

I was walking to work last week in my beige pump, touted to be comfortable all day long, imagining ways to inflict pain on the manufacturer. Just when I could see my office tower, and relief on the horizon, my shoe was ripped from my foot and I was sent lurching forward. A much younger woman stopped, panicked concern on her face, to ensure I was OK. This bothered me a lot. I looked down to see the spikey heel of my shoe lodged in the crack between two concrete segments of sidewalk.cobblestone

Step on a crack, break your mother’s back.

Is this what that childhood rhyme was referring to? I’d always thought it was about the danger of the crack. Suddenly I wondered if the reference to mother was the important part. When I was young, and in one of those rare moments when I wore heels, an event like this would have looked goofy and somewhat endearing. Maybe the message in this phrase is that age requires more attention to life because there are more consequences to your actions. You can’t live just hoping for the best, muddling through. You have to learn from your experience – that is the gift of age. Place your feet thoughtfully.

I had quite forgotten my painful feet when I arrived at the office. It was really fun to explore the meaning of things. I think this is one of the gifts of writing. Stories can be laced with symbols and echoes of the growth that the protagonist is seeking. Readers can have their unconscious fed with metaphors of meaning and enjoy the delightful awakening as they rise to the surface of consciousness. Such a wonderful personal experience.diamond_PNG6692

I saw a man walking with his dog. ‘Man’s best friend’ popped into my mind. It made me think of the expression Diamonds are a girl’s best friend. What meaning are we to take from this pair of thoughts (I was on a roll now). Women used to store their nest-egg in the form of jewels. They are much more beautiful than a number in the bank. You can benefit from them by wearing them when you don’t need their cash value, and you can travel with them on short notice. There is always a measure of security and independence when you have diamonds. Women value beauty and self care. Men value loyalty. And someone willing to fight by their side.

That’s what those two phrases side by side said to me. What fun to see life as full of meaning. And we can all find our own meaning and be enriched by it. I think this is a really powerful aspect of writing.

How much thought do you give to symbols that hint to the meaning of your protagonist’s journey alongside the furthering of the plot line? I’d love to know the process, do they come to you as you write, do they get laced in afterwords?

Happy writing

About Kim Hudson

KIM HUDSON Author of The Virgin’s Promise I grew up in the Yukon, as what I would describe as a Hero’s daughter with a Cinderella Complex. Basically life taught me many of the things I needed to know to write my first book, The Virgin's Promise. It is on a story structure for a character that needs to connect to who she really is, separate from what everyone else expects of her. It uses movie example and is equally applicable to any kind of story telling. I spent the first half of my career first as a field geologist and later as a federal land claims negotiator. It was the 80's and I was proving I could do whatever men could do. I also learned that I am fascinated with masculine/feminine dynamics. Exploring my feminine side became important to me as I raised my two daughters. This lead me to study Writing for Film and Television at Vancouver Film School, and take courses on mythology, feminism and psychology including a Jungian Odyssey in Switzerland. The theory of the Virgin's journey was developed by closely observing the archetypal expressions that are all around us in movies, music, television, advertisements and stories of personal growth, including my own. In my posts I want to introduce an archetypal structure that expands the work of Joseph Campbell on the Hero's journey to include a feminine archetype. I hope it will create stories about women and men who follow their spiritual, sexual or creative awakening, otherwise known as their feminine side. I’ve tried to use examples of male and female Virgins to show this. So go ahead and explore the ideas, tell me what movies you liked and what stories you think is also a Virgin pathway, or stories of your own personal Virgin journey.
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3 Responses to the meaning of things

  1. Mary Hughes says:

    Hi, Kim,

    Love your musings on symbols! I adore symbols. I try to give my hero or heroine at least one tangible that holds the meaning of their journey. I still remeber Roarke keeping the button off Eve’s coat in JD Robb’s In Death series. For me, I do end up with jewelry a disproportionate number of times 🙂

  2. Edie Ramer says:

    Kim, wow! What an interesting brain you must have. 🙂

    When I’m writing a book, I don’t give thoughts to symbols, but they do show up. In the novella I’m writing now, the heroine is seeing several symbols in her life and the meanings behind them. At the novella end, she is making major changes because of all the revelations. In fact, all of the characters in this novella will have major changes.

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