What's in a (Character) Name?
I was asked this question by Samantha Henthorn, and I realized I had no idea how many readers are interested in knowing the answer. If you are one of them, I invite you to check Sam's website. If you want to read something humorous and well written, check her books too. Enjoy!
Hi! My name is Nico and I’m a writer. Throughout my life, I’ve been called also Nicole, Niki, Nicu, but somehow Nico has a warmer touch to it. So, Nico, it is. It is all about feelings, you know.
Let's see how I came up with some of the names from my novels .
Magnetic Reverie & Reverie Girl:
The idea for my first novel struck me one day. It didn’t have many characters but I had to decide on the names as otherwise, it would have made it difficult, right? I couldn’t just go »she« and »he« as at one point not only the readers would be confused, but I would be the more confused one, the author. I didn’t think much of the names when I started. I did pick up Ana as the name of my main character. My mom’s name is Ana and I find it a really beautiful name, full of purity. It felt so smooth writing Ana whenever the main character came into the scene. I don’t recall now what were the other characters’ names but I’m sure I’ve changed them all.
You know, when I first started writing I didn't even think it will be something that it will turn into a novel. I just penned down the beginning of something that later on will become my debut novel. When the story was evolving and the characters were being defined, as I didn’t want any of the people I had in my life to think there are any correlations between my work of fiction and my private life, I had to deal with the name thing. Ana, as much as I love this name, had to be replaced. I can’t write a bisexual/lesbian novel with some steamy scenes having one character named the same as my mom. Do you agree? Still, I had to replace it with something as smooth and soft so after some thinking it became Lana. Problem solved. The other characters were a tad easier, still not quite smooth. I didn’t just snap my fingers or took a three minutes break and came up with them. No. Having in mind that the story takes place between Slovenia, Croatia, and the USA, and all the twists and wonders that are not clear for the reader right at the beginning, I had to deal longer with the name for my second character. She was a woman from Slovenia, so her name had to sound Slovenian and American at the same time. And here comes Claire. Well, Claire is the American version while Klara is the Slovenian one. There is a perfectly fine explanation for that in the story and to me, she’s mainly Claire. The other characters got random names, still, I usually prefer short ones and I’m trying to avoid having very similar names so that the reader does not get confused. As I’ve said earlier, I’m trying to have all the names of my fiction works as different as possible from the people I know. Still, it can’t always be done easily as we do get to meet quite a lot of people in our lives. So here comes the claim: »This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.«
ADHD: Life is Beautiful
I cherish and hold dear to my heart all of my books, as they are my children, my creations. This one, being a true story, hits a higher place. The names though, except for mine, could not be used. As I mention in the introduction: »Some places, names, and identifying details have been changed in order to maintain the anonymity of other.«, I couldn’t expose my friends' names so I had to come up with substitutions.
While I wrote the book, I have used their real names and only replaced them before publishing. I played in my mind for a few days with several names as they had to sit right with me. My friends, a mother and her son, became Peter and Eliza.
The real Peter didn’t like the name I gave to his character and he asked me to mention in the book that the main character got the name against his will, hence without his approval.:) He made me laugh and his remark was totally in line with the content of the book. He wasn’t laughing, though.
In conclusion, there are many stories behind a character’s name and, we authors, don’t have often the chance to talk about it, so thank you, Sam, for the opportunity.
MAGNETIC REVERIE: Amazon
REVERIE GIRL: Amazon
ADHD: LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL Amazon
Realisations in Quarantine
Having in mind the current situation, there’s no doubt we are going through an emotional, physical, and possibly even transformative time. While we try to stay safe for our sake and anyone around us, know we can do more. We can create a daily routine that’s laying the grounds for a new form of harmony in our lives. Use this time wisely, and look forward to your new life.
When this craziness ends, we won’t be the same as we were yesterday. We will be alive and more connected with our inner-selves. We will have a reason for celebration, for new beginnings, for a better life, cherishing a healthy life-style, spending qualitative time with our dear ones, settling our priorities right.
We often complain that the world we live in moves too fast. We either adapt or we are left behind. And here we are, in a slowed-down world, and our first thought is that we don't quite like it.
But hour by hour, day by day, we realize that here and now is our chance. The chance to stay in, stay safe and alive. The chance to do everything else we left behind. The chance to live at a different pace, only to be reminded of the many things we love and are good at, things that we didn't have the time for before. Things that make us alive.
This is my message and the forward to the recently published book »Realisations in Quarantine«.
I enjoyed the uplifting messages and the beautiful creations of this group of talented artists. They surely used the quarantine right. Their outstanding verses and illustrations offer a pick-me-up that we all need during this lockdown.
Thankful for the water
It was a hot summer day. A bit too hot for my liking, I admit. I was walking towards a bus station with a heavy backpack pressing on my shoulder and another bag in my hand. Just 100 meters more to go and I would be there. On my right side, there was a construction site. The air was humid, and I felt all sticky with sweat and dust. I remembered that I had packed some wet tissues that will help me refresh a bit when I’d take my seat on the bus.
With a slow pace, I continued walking. I kept telling myself ‘Just a few more minutes and I will be comfortable again’. It would be useless calling a cab for such a short distance. I looked around and there was no one I could ask for help with my luggage. It was then when I noticed a little girl trying to get my attention.
“Miss,” she said. My first thought was that she was going to ask for money. She looked about seven or eight years old, dressed in dirty worn off clothes, and had greasy, dusty, tangled long brown hair. Her sparkling chocolate eyes were the spotlight of her outside characteristics. Her overall first appearance could easily mislead one, given that such fake image is commonly used for generating immediate sympathy towards roadside help-seekers and prompting one to extend help. Still, I stopped and decided to listen to what she had to say, and was even prepared to give her a few bucks. ‘Just an innocent child with unhealthy, poor living conditions,’ I thought.
“Can you please help me?” she asked pointing out towards a bicycle next to her. I must have been quiet
for a bit while she continued talking.
“I need you to hold hard on this back wheel,” and it was then when I actually noticed how dusty it was. ‘I’m not touching that,’ I told myself. The bicycle seemed to have known better days.
“It is too dirty,” I decided to speak up my thoughts. I really not wanted additional filth on my already sweaty hands.
“Don’t worry, there is the water for that,” she said in a serious tone. That made me smile instantly as I realized she was right. I might have been still surprised by her request though. I was expecting her to beg for money when in reality she only wanted my help with fixing her bicycle. She was trying to pull the seat up as it was too low for her height.
“My little sister rode it last, and I can’t bring it up,” she explained while pulling hard to lift it while I was pushing down the bicycle. Seeing how hard it was for her, and the seat not budging I suggested that we switch places. In order to do that I had to put my bag on the bench next to the bicycle. I needed both of my hands to do the task. While using my strength to lift the seat I was keeping an eye on my bag and belongings within. You never know what kind of trick this could be; getting my attention on the bike while some other person could come and steal my belongings.
Looking back in retrospect, I am not proud of my such thoughts. Unfortunately, it is only a kind of reflex as I’ve experienced many times in my life or heard other people’s stories of such happenings.
“That will be enough,” she said when the attained height of the seat seemed satisfactory to her.
“There you have,” I said wiping off the sweat from my forehead with the back side of my hand. I grabbed my bag and I was ready to move on.
“What’s your name?” she asked in her sweet young voice.
“Nico, what’s yours?”
“I’m Emilia,” she answered with an innocent expression.
“Thank you, Nico, for your help,” she said while hopping on her bike. Off she rode. We smiled and waved at each other one more time, and I continued walking. I saw her crossing the street on my left side and then I didn't look anymore.
“Goodbye, Nico!” I heard a voice from a distance.
“Goodbye, Emilia,” I yelled. I waved back and smiled. I knew she wouldn't be able to see my face from the distance but the scene really touched my heart.
It felt good to help, I was glad I didn't fall entirely into the trap of the bad past experiences. I was definitely more dusty and sweaty but as Emilia said: “There is nothing that water wouldn’t clean.” And water we are blessed with.
Today I’m thankful for the water and to all the people out there who will always prove that appearances are misleading, most of the times.
My apologies to the little girl, and to those I will misjudge in future. I know I will. I promise though that they can still count on my help while making me realize over and over again that my bad experiences were only the exceptions.
I miss the sea
They say we appreciate more what we don’t have.
Living in cities close to the mountains most of my life, my wish to live by the sea was increasing year after year. I love nature in all its shapes and forms, and I do appreciate the daily view of the mountains too. Sometimes though, I wished so badly to be able to transport myself to the seaside, in an instant. No matter what day, month or season it would be. I was fortunate enough to be able to live for almost two years close to the sea, in a house with a sea view. Boy, how I enjoyed it! The sea air, the waves, the blue water, and the seagulls flying around felt magical. There were also times when strong winds were making it impossible to be outside. Or I would skip the daily walk by the seaside knowing that later on or the next day I will have opportunities to walk. With the time passing by, I got accustomed with the surroundings. I still loved everything around me but I started to act like there was always tomorrow.… Until one day when I had to move.
By then it was too late to make it up for all the things I didn't do while I was still there. I didn’t feel too sad though as I thought that the two years would have been enough to fulfill my wish. I waved the sea a goodbye and went back to my dear mountains. I was fine, my life moved on. Yet, I felt very soon that something was indeed missing.
Day in day out I felt I was missing something yet I couldn't put my finger on as to what I was missing. Then one fine morning I realized that I missed my daily walk by the sea, alone with my thoughts with the breeze gently caressing my hair. I missed even the moments when the weather condition wasn't so pleasant. I remembered how I enjoyed watching the agitated sea from indoor; in fact not only enjoyed, I was amazed by it. Yes, the mountains are magnificent and I always get impressed admiring them. I believe I couldn’t live without them either. Still, their vicinity couldn't fill the part that was now empty. I felt that the sea was calling me day and night. At first with just a soft whisper, then louder and louder.
I heard the call. But I was shouting out within “It is not possible now. You have lived there for two years, many people don't even get such a chance, so, be quiet now.” It didn’t help though. Soon I was left without arguments. During my walks, I was looking at the mountains and telling them: “You are beautiful but you aren’t enough.” My mood was gradually influenced by this strong urge. I couldn't function properly anymore. I had to do something. I had to go to the seaside, even that being for only one day.
This urge came around the peak of the season, meaning the possibility of almost no vacancies for accommodation and excessive prices. It was most of a no-no at first. But I had to persist to satisfy the urge and find ways within my possibilities. My wish was too strong to ignore it. The feeling that I had, seemed equal to when you miss badly someone you love and you are not at peace until you see them. It wasn't easy but I made the impossible possible. I listened to my wish, and a few days later I was where I wanted to be. At the seaside. Just me and the sea. I was where I belonged to be in that exact moment. I was then relaxed and not anymore restless. I was in the place that was so persistently calling my name. I felt relieved, happy and full of life. I was grateful to the universal power that made my wish heard and pushed me to follow my desire. It made me believe that things that were seemingly impossible are possible to be achieved. At the same time, I was grateful for one more thing, for the simple fact of being there. I felt the gratitude in every moment and everything I was doing so that when I went back I felt that I lived the given time at the sea at the fullest.
With the circumstances we are in the given time and place, our mind will often tell us that certain things are impossible to attend and achieve. Despite any obvious impediments we need to sharpen our hearing and listen to the calls for anything that is there for us. Listen to your internal voice for apparently not-possible-to-come-true-at-present desire and don’t stop until you have it; and as often as you need it for as long as it is necessary. When you do achieve, allow yourself to enjoy, let the shooting feelings of excitement charge your batteries, breathe in the wonderful scent of your reached ‘need’, and smile. Life would be beautiful again.
Yes, we may appreciate having more of something that we don't have anymore, but if we are offered a chance to have that thing again, I hope we will be smarter. And here I am talking about things that we earnestly need. Things that without which we would not feel complete. Things that are call-of the-heart such as a regular dose of the sea, a hike in the mountains, time spend with our partners, parents, friends, pets etc. Everyone should know what is their ‘call of the heart’. Only when we have everything in place we feel complete. It’s like constructing a puzzle. When we miss a piece, the puzzle it’s incomplete. When the missing piece falls in right place at right time, we feel overwhelming joy.
With a clear awareness of living in the present moment and feelings of gratitude, we may manage to appreciate what we have while we have as well cherished the sweet memories of what was in the past, without feeling incomplete. Fulfilling my urge did three important things for me: it improved my mood, it gave me the hope for many other great things I wanted to do and thought I couldn't, and made me appreciate more what I have when I have it.
Today I am thankful for the sea, places, and people that improve my mood and make me feel alive, yet at peace. I promise never again take you for granted.
THE BUCKET LIST
“I will lose weight.”
“I will quit smoking.”
“I will learn a new language.”
“I will be a better partner.”
“I will stop being an impulsive shopper.”
“I will get angry less.”
“I will smile more.”
“I will search for a better job, etc.”
“I will spend more time with my family and friends.”
You have all at least one of these New Year’s resolutions, right? I don’t know though how many of you actually keep your resolutions throughout the year? If you do, you have my salute! If can’t, please don’t worry. You’re not alone.
There is an alternative to the New Year’s resolutions it’s called a wish list that will not limit you to just the following year. It is something for your entire life. This long-term wish list is often described very well as the ‘bucket list,’ used in this text as defined in one dictionary: a list of the things that a person would like to do or achieve before they die. (Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press.)
“I want to climb Mount Everest.”
“I want to see the Great Wall of China.”
“I want to fly in a balloon.”
“I want to go on Route 66.”
“I want to read all the books in the world.”
“I want to sing on a big stage, even though I know I will never be a real singer.”
“I want to be a great cook."
Did you ever make this kind of list? I know some of you have. I have too. Albeit for me, it is called, ‘My little book of happy things.’ When I started to write, I didn’t know the usage of the term ‘bucket list’, but it is actually my bucket list in a form of a little book. As time passes, I come up with more and more things I want to do. If you do not have such a list yet, please take your time and write it down. The list can be endless. Whatever one puts on one’s bucket list is personal, and is going to fulfill one’s life to the fullest. Look at the list and commit to it.
Don’t look at it only as a ‘To-do’ list, but more as a personal guide for a happy, meaningful, and fulfilled life. Each time something from the list is done or achieved, the satisfaction will grow. Your life will gain a deeper meaning. Your life becomes richer. It doesn’t necessarily have to contain big things. I encourage you though to think wider. Don’t let the possible barriers stop you.
Write everything down as if you are sure that it is going to happen. As if, you have a magic wand in your hand. Day by day, month by month, year by year, mark down what you have fulfilled. Feel free though to constantly add any additional wish or goal that comes to your mind. Little by little achieve them. Don’t postpone things. Don’t leave until tomorrow what could be done today. Tomorrow may be too late. Live today to the maximum and plan tomorrow’s potential and use it. Make it, so you have no regrets. Yes, some things will require more time or money, but so long as your desire is strong enough, there will always be a way. Trust me!
Having a bucket list doesn’t mean that you will not allow spontaneity in your life. It simply means that you choose what will be the main things you want to experience in order for you to feel you’ve lived a full life. The other things will just give additional color tinges to your life. Don’t live in black and white. Let the colors fill your life. The more you live as you desire the more the colors of your life will get sharper and brighter. Living like this will leave no space for regrets. Never stop believing in your dreams.
"In hope of a world, that does not celebrate the fake & the cold
In hope of a world where true emotions can be uphold
In hope of a world where truth is told
In hope of the world where sugar coated abuses are not sold
In hope of a world that does not force you to fit in & fold
In hope of a world where tears are allowed to unfold
You are not told to fake happy when your heart can no longer hold
In the hope of a world that doesn’t go numb & cold,
While faking positivity & not being bold
In hope of that world where you & I can be true to our core
We are not judged for being human
And not expected to be a bot, running on a computer code
Let the beauty of true emotions and the warmth of real unfold
Sweet, sour, bitter, happy, sad, high, low, cold
Sincere bonds and true connects
Let us not turn the world into a fake emotion(less) zone"
by Vanashree Yadav