Why Red Feather

April 12, 2017

 

I love naming; my businesses, my characters, my children. It's one of the things that (as far as we know) makes us human and gives rise to the very source of communication, language and culture. It is a powerful act. In Genesis, God named everything and then it existed, S/he literally ‘called’ our world into being.

It is an honour to name someone. I agonised over my children’s names, and so I should as they will most probably use (or be used by) them for their entire lives. Character names must also pass the test of time and be appealing to the reader.

My characters’ names come quite easily to me; James Ardent Mallory, Kafia-Lily Skinner, Prince Encoda and King Bravindo in ‘The King’s Voice’.

In my new (in progress) series I named: Sylvia Scutlash, Sammy Lock, Trudy Streaks, Arthur Sprout, and Trim Kreeper 'to name a few'.

So, what would I call my self-publishing business? The ‘red’ part was easy, even though it came after the idea of ‘feather’. I love red, simples! I own a red handbag, wallet, sofas, clothes, bins, kitchen accessories, pots, towels, jewellery. I have tried to branch out to orange and burgundy but red is my first love and enduring sweetheart.

Here is my room (that’s my sister) when I was sixteen!

 

 

 

Feathers are so connected with writing due to the use of quills. I can’t think of Shakespeare without imagining a quill in his hand. The word pen itself comes from the Latin word for feather, ‘penna’. Even though I have never been a dedicated bird lover, I have always had a fascination with feathers, in fact my first word was feather, pronounced ‘feaver’.

A feather is so simple and yet beautifully intricate. Like a word, a feather doesn’t work alone, it can only make the bird airborne with thousands of other feathers arranged just so. The wing of feathers takes the bird on long journeys, often circling around to the beginning again.

Not only does it aid flight but it also keeps the bird’s body warm and dry. Feathers usually have stunning markings and vibrant colours, even white feathers are dazzling in their purity.

A feather has many metaphors; their lightness, the tipping of the scales, the tiny detail in a situation that can make a hugely different outcome. Its subtleties, its design and beauty are all qualities I aspire to reflect in my writing.

The term ‘red feather’ became all the more poignant for me recently. I was part of a campaign to stop a road being built through my neighbourhood. A four-lane tolled highway splitting my suburb in half and tearing through pristine bush and delicate wetlands. One of the casualties was the endangered Red Tailed cockatoo. It’s stunning red tail feathers became an icon of our campaign. I am yet to be gifted one of these feathers but I so want one!

You’ll be happy to hear this story has a bitter but sweet ending. My wonderful community stopped the road, even though much of the cockatoo habitat was destroyed. My heart leaps when I see those majestic birds sweep through the sky, flashing their magical red feathers.

 

 

 

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