Lily Iona MacKenzie's Blog for Writers & Readers

MY BLOG POSTS COMMENT ON SOME ASPECT OF WRITING & READING.

The Ripening
The Ripening:
A Canadian Girl Grows Up

" A wildly inventive, consistently engaging, and amusing comic novel, but under its bright exterior lurk darker undertones and truths.... "

" A wildly inventive, consistently engaging, and amusing comic novel, but under its bright exterior lurk darker undertones and truths.... "

" Tillie’s grit and ability to face life’s challenges are inspiring, the seeds for later discovering her artist self. Tillie takes readers on a wild ride. Join her if you dare! "

Lily Iona MacKenzie Books
Curva Peligrosa
Curva Peligrosa

" A wildly inventive, consistently engaging, and amusing comic novel, but under its bright exterior lurk darker undertones and truths.... "

" A wildly inventive, consistently engaging, and amusing comic novel, but under its bright exterior lurk darker undertones and truths.... "

" A wildly inventive, consistently engaging, and amusing comic novel, but under its bright exterior lurk darker undertones and truths.... "

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FLING!
Fling!

" A wildly inventive, consistently engaging, and amusing comic novel, but under its bright exterior lurk darker undertones and truths.... "

" A wildly inventive, consistently engaging, and amusing comic novel, but under its bright exterior lurk darker undertones and truths.... "

"Fling! is both hilarious and touching. Every page is a surprise, and the characters! I especially loved Bubbles, one of the most endearing mothers in recent fiction. A scintillating read."

Lily Iona MacKenzie Books
Freefall
Freefall :
A Divine Comedy

" A wildly inventive, consistently engaging, and amusing comic novel, but under its bright exterior lurk darker undertones and truths.... "

" A wildly inventive, consistently engaging, and amusing comic novel, but under its bright exterior lurk darker undertones and truths.... "

" These fascinating characters will fill your imagination, defying expectations about aging, art, and what truly matters in life. "

Lily Iona MacKenzie Books
All This
All This

" A wildly inventive, consistently engaging, and amusing comic novel, but under its bright exterior lurk darker undertones and truths.... "

" A wildly inventive, consistently engaging, and amusing comic novel, but under its bright exterior lurk darker undertones and truths.... "

" Indicative of the title, the poems in All This range from the conventional lyric/narrative that captures an intense moment of emotion, an epiphany glimpsed briefly out of the corner of the eye, to the more experimental. "

Lily Iona MacKenzie Books
No More Kings
No More Kings

" A wildly inventive, consistently engaging, and amusing comic novel, but under its bright exterior lurk darker undertones and truths.... "

" A wildly inventive, consistently engaging, and amusing comic novel, but under its bright exterior lurk darker undertones and truths.... "

Each finely crafted poem in this powerful collection comes alive on the page while she traces the days’ journeys with a painter’s eye, a musician’s ear, and the deft pen of a poet.

Lily Iona MacKenzie Books
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Tag: names

What’s in a Name?

I’ve been thinking about names and how they inform our lives. When we’re born, our parents select a name for us that starts us on our journey. It might have some mythical weight to it, like Adam or Naomi. In that case, we’re already embedded in an archetypal story. The Biblical Adam makes me think of a male archetype, one who is grounded in masculine stereotypes of responsibility and obedience. With Naomi, there is another Biblical connection. A woman whose life is filled with strife, she is fortified by Ruth her daughter-in-law.

What’s in a Name?

clouds-2517648_1920I’ve been thinking about names and how they inform our lives. When we’re born, our parents select our name that starts us on a journey. It might have some mythical weight to it, like Adam or Naomi. In that case, we’re already embedded in an archetypal story. The Biblical Adam makes me think of a male archetype, one who is grounded in masculine stereotypes of responsibility and obedience. With Naomi, there is another Biblical connection. A woman whose life is filled with strife, she is fortified by Ruth, her daughter-in-law.

What’s in a character’s name?

I was having dinner with friends the other night that had read my novel Fling! They wanted to know how I came up with the main characters’ names—Bubbles and Feather. When I tried to pinpoint the moment when the names tumbled onto the page, I couldn’t.

When I worked backwards, I realized that all three generations of women, from the youngest, Feather, to the oldest, Feather’s grandmother and Bubbles’ mother, were named Heather, just as I was originally named after my mother, Lily. Since it would be too confusing to have all characters using the same name, I had to distinguish them. Heather, the grandmother, retained her name. The shift from Heather to Feather was easy because of her hippie/new age origins and interests. It was clear she was going to be out there in many ways, floating like a feather through life.

Fling_fullcover_4-13-15 copy

I think Bubbles came to me in one of those moments when the character actually named herself. Heather would have been too staid a name for this character. It didn’t capture her effervescence and overflowing life force. Bubbles also is rotund, like the ancient statue of the Venus of Willandorf, an image that’s on the front and back cover of the book. So the name captures some of that quality as well. But the word bubbles also has a negative aspect, which the character also does: she acts at times as if she were trapped in a bubble and it prevents her from interacting fully with others at important times.

Once the main characters’ names became clear to me, so too did their personalities and how they needed to be developed. In many ways, the foundations of the work fell into place at that point, though, of course, I still had many hundreds of words yet to write.

What’s in a Name?

I’ve been thinking today about names and how they inform our lives. When we’re born, our parents select a name for us that starts us on our journey. It might have some mythical weight to it, like Adam or Naomi. In that case, we’re already embedded in an archetypal story. The Biblical Adam makes me think of a male archetype, one who is grounded in masculine stereotypes of responsibility and obedience. With Naomi, there is another Biblical connection. A woman whose life is filled with strife, she is fortified by Ruth her daughter-in-law.

It’s never clear how much or how little our names influence our future or the story of our lives, but in my case, I was named after my mother (my first name). My second name Iona is an island off the coast of Scotland that has mystical connotations. It also was the name of a woman one of my uncles was dating when I was born who also had dark eyes and dark hair. Did this stranger have an impact on the person I am today?

Since I don’t know the stranger, I only have the island to speculate on. After hearing Carl Jung speak of our number one and number two personalities, the number one being the persona we show to the world, the number two expressing our more invisible inner self, I have considered Lily to be my number one personality and Iona my number two. But what does that mean? My number one helps me to interact socially. It’s the extroverted self I use when teaching or conducting union business or even interacting with friends. But my number two, Iona, is the self I write from. It’s the part that embraces certain aspects of a more spiritual life, though not in the organized religion sense. I meditate most days from that dimension. I also embrace my dreams as Iona. And it’s why I insist on using my full name, Lily Iona MacKenzie, rather than just Lily MacKenzie. I am all of the above.

But by having Lily for my first name, I was immediately in competition with the original Lily, not a comfortable position for a daughter. Luckily, my mother chose to be called by her second name, Barbara, reducing some of the conflict. Still, I knew that my name wasn’t really my own. I was sharing it with another family member. Yet at times I didn’t want to be identified with the person I was sharing it with. It meant I wasn’t setting off on my own path, as Joseph Campbell might say. Rather, I was picking up on my mother’s, a crooked road that already had footprints on it. I wanted my own.

Eventually, I found it. But I still stumble onto my mother’s at times. When I notice myself having difficulty following directions, I’m wearing my mother’s shoes. When I feel fogged up and unable to follow logical reasoning, I’m inhabiting her world. There are many other instances as well, too many to innumerate here, the point being that names have meaning, whether they’re our own names or our characters. And it’s important to be conscious of the impact they have.

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