Friday, September 14, 2012

Faraway: Words as Self-Signifiers


What are the words that define your physical identity? In other words, if someone conducted an impromptu inventory of your cosmetics/accessories, what would they learn about your personal taste? Depending on my mood and the situation, I bedeck myself in a variety of signifiers every day--perfume, makeup, and nail polish, etc. After my own survey, I recorded some of the words that define me:

Spellbound, Amethyst Amelia, Shimmer Bleu, Islands in the sun, Scintillez, Irish Mist, Seaglass, Lucky Green, Aquadisiac, Shimmering sands-sable chatoyant, Blue Angel, Pink Flare, Goddess, Sunrise Sunset, Cool Orchid, Milani Ruby Jewels, and Japanese Cherry Blossom.  

What words accent your characters' physicality, and thus illustrate their personality?  Do they have a "signature" look? How do they stand out from the crowd with their personal taste? (Or lack thereof, as the case may be!). For example, my late mother was allergic to many perfumes, but there was one fragrance that she would wear whenever she was going somewhere nice: Faraway by Avon. I will always associate that scent with the warmth of her presence. In many ways, that scent defined her soul. There were many things that she could not do in life because of health limitations, but her dreams, no matter how lost, never left her. Now they linger in me, and in a word: Faraway.  

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab

I adored every page of this book. The Near Witch  by Victoria Schwab wouldn't let me go from the minute I picked it up at night until 2AM the next morning!  Lexi's quiet life in Near is shattered forever by the mysterious disappearance of children in her village each night, and the sudden arrival of a strange boy who seems to dissolve into smoke. As Lexi's budding feelings for the only stranger she's ever met grow, so does the distrust and anger of the villagers as more children continue to vanish. Lexi and the boy must work together to uncover the hidden past of the Near Witch, a woman whose death is shrouded in secrecy and shame, before they run out of time. The lyrical imagery of the wild moor where Lexi lives haunts the reader's senses with snatches of moonlight and mist. However, it is how Schwab juxtaposes the fear of the supernatural unknown with the justifications that people make for their choices that I find most fascinating. Following one's fears has consequences, and Lexi's indomitable will is all that stands between Near and a witch's wrath.