Getting Back to Your Roots

IMG_3329¡Feliz Cinco de Mayo! Or at least it is on the day I’m writing this post. So, I hope by the time you read this, that you had a good one.

If you follow this blog, you know I don’t usually post more than once a week, except on special occasions. So the fact that you’re here means you want to know who won the time travel series by Zetta Elliott. (Go here, if you’re wondering what I’m talking about. Though I mentioned other giveaways at the end of the interview, due to unforeseen circumstances, those will take place at another time. But I didn’t want to delay this giveaway until then.)

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Before I get to the giveaway, I want to talk about something I’ve been thinking about lately: roots. Though I chose the photo at the beginning of this post, it is not a hint that I plan to dye my hair, though I consider doing so from time to time. And getting back to your roots is not an allusion to the Elder Scrolls videogame series or to this:

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I’m actually talking about artistic, spiritual, or cultural roots—whatever it is that takes you back what’s important, especially if it reminds you of who you are or what you love.

I mentioned in a previous blog that writing had become frustrating. It involved lots of spinning wheels and long sessions of staring at the computer screen, followed by a sigh and a retreat to YouTube to watch a video (or seven). So I decided to return to my roots by reading the book that inspired me when I was eight years old. Here it is.

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I’ve mentioned this book a number of times on this blog. Rereading this book reminds me of the kind of story I loved as a kid and still gravitate toward. But if I were to parse this further, I would add that I love the hero’s journey model, which Joseph Campbell discussed in The Hero with a Thousand Faces.

I’ve noticed that some writers (some, not all) nowadays have steered away from that model, deeming it old-fashioned in an age where antiheroes rule. But Meg Murry’s quest to find her dad never gets old to me. She reminds me that girls can be heroes. (Not that I doubted that truth. 🙂 ) I love her family dynamics, and find her belief that she’s nothing special very relatable. I felt that way as a kid. Honestly, I feel that way as an adult sometimes. The fact that her opponent is very powerful—the ultimate evil, actually—while Meg has no discernible power (that she knows of)—makes her an unlikely hero. It also adds high stakes to her journey. Her story inspires me to up my game with my heroine’s story.

The old saying, “You can’t go home again” isn’t always true. Sometimes you need to. Remember what Mufasa in The Lion King told his son Simba? Need a reminder?

What are your roots? Maybe for you those roots are your cultural heritage—a reminder of your family history and how it has shaped your life. Or maybe it is a return to a writing style you’ve loved, but let it go for some reason. Do you think maybe it’s time you returned?

While you think about that, I’ll move on to the winner of A Wish After Midnight and The Door at the Crossroads.

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The winner is . . .

Is . . .

Is . . .

Laura Sibson!

Congrats, Laura! 🙂 Please comment below to confirm.

Thank you to all who commented.

Hair photo from beautyskincarenatural.blogspot.com. A Wrinkle in Time covers from Goodreads.

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44 thoughts on “Getting Back to Your Roots

    • I can understand that, Jill. Writing for others is hard. I know what you mean. It’s easier when you’re writing to entertain yourself.

      Once you get into a regular publication rhythm, I hope it will seem easier. 🙂

  1. For me, it’s the ‘Hero Journey’ stuff of old fantasy that got me into being an author. Still I do like working on other types of stories when I can get them right. It’s strange how the ‘Hero Journey’ is being deemed a trope that should be cast aside for the Anti-Hero. We’ve had those for a long time too, but I think many people simply want their heroes to be flawed and edgy. The boy scout is seen as unrealistic for some reason while the ‘I kill my enemies and never get arrested’ ones are deemed realistic. It’s oddly baffling at times. As someone who enjoys both, I don’t see why one needs to be put over the other. Once you do that, a lot of the new stuff will only come from the ‘popular’ camp.

    • I agree that there is room for both. The Star Wars series is proof of that. There’s Han Solo (antihero turned hero) and Luke (hero). There’s also Lando Calrissian (antihero) and others. I have an antihero secondary character also. He came out that way for some reason. My heroes are closer to antiheroes with their flaws.

      • I haven’t done any antiheroes in Legends of Windemere, but that doesn’t really work with the story. Cassidy and Lloyd fall into the category, so I have that covered. For me, I grew up when antiheroes were the big thing in comics. Wolverine, Venom, and Punisher were some of the popular ones, but you also had Spawn. Seems those types are still more popular than the boy scouts, but I wonder if the pendulum will swing back one day.

      • Windemere the world will have an antihero at some point. Though I need to work on that. Really hard to do in a world that has more violent death than the real world. Fantasy worlds aren’t as strict on killing from what I can see as long as you’re on an adventure and defending yourself. Dawn is definitely a villain though. 🙂

        Saw ‘Hero’ a long time ago. I thought the twist was that he was a bad guy or something. I’d have to watch it again.

      • The nameless character wanted to kill the king at first, but realized the king’s plan to unite all of China was more important than his desire to assassinate him. I usually watch that film once a year.

  2. Roots for me, in a literary sense, means horror. As a kid of around ten right through my teenage years it is all I ever read-James Herbert and Stephen King. As I got older, mid-twenties on, my taste expanded and I started reading all genres. Interestingly, though, aside from poetry, once I began writing short fiction my stories reverted to my roots. My short story in the Northlore anthology is horror-tinged, a reviewer calling it, in a good way, ‘bleak’. Wait until he reads the one in the second anthology, due out this year-that’s even darker and bleaker! The novel I’m attempting to write, though, is not horror in the slightest. I think it’s good to return to our roots, but we do not have to remain entrenched there.

  3. Outside of literature roots are important to me. I’ve done some research in my family history, and live still in my childhood town, indeed next door to the house I grew up in.

  4. Many congrats to Laura! Ahh, funny you mention getting back to one’s roots …. I just sent in a saliva sample to 23andme for a DNA test. It wasn’t cheap but it may be the only way I’ll learn anything about my dad’s side of the family, genealogically speaking. I guess I’m hoping to learn more about what my roots are 😉 I won’t get results for at least 12 weeks so I need to put it out of my mind for now … at least try 😉

  5. I touched on this subject in my post awhile back: http://laurabrunolilly.com/a-walk-in-the-swamp-with-joe/
    Ma always said: ‘Just be yourself’ and somehow that’s a related concept here as well.

    When The Lion King first came out it became the Lord’s mantra-message for me in my life at the time… I even found a fantastic African-esque tye-dye t-shirt with the saying “Remember who you are” on it that I wore out!

    BTW: I ***love*** ‘A Wrinkle in Time’.

    This is a precious reminder for me, Linda…thank you.

  6. What?! Oh my gosh — thank you so much! I so loved Zetta’s interview — she truly moved me with passionate and thoughtful answers to your questions. I look forward to reading and then sharing with teens I know.

    Also, thank you for this reminder to return to our roots. In the way you speak about roots — passion comes to mind. Especially the passion that inspired me to write in the first place. Thank you for this motivation! And you know what? Maybe I’ll go back to Wrinkle in Time, too!

  7. Good question about what we consider our roots. I’d have to think about it a bit, but I bet it would come down to my grandmother. I’m very much like her, but the times we lived in were different and she didn’t get to pursue the things I’ve been able to. I’m not sure the path she chose for herself would be the same today. Makes me appreciate her strength even more.

    • That’s cool, Carrie. Do you think your grandmother would have wanted to be physician?

      I’m like both of my grandmothers. I miss them. One grandmother liked to write. The other grandmother was feisty. I’m a combination of both.

  8. I tend to think about my roots, talk about them, even write about them often as they helped to shape who am I am, even as I’ve grown over the years. While I haven’t done much of it lately, I also enjoy writing about my roots. Growing up Greek in the western suburbs in the 1950/60’s left me with quite a cache of stories. 🙂
    Congratulations to Laura.

  9. For me, it’s my cultural heritage, though I didn’t know that till I lived away for a few years. Sometimes I need to go touch an ancient building to remind myself that the annoying little things don’t last – does that make me weird? 😉

    • Ha ha! I’m picturing you touching old buildings. 🙂 Great perspective, FF. 🙂 I need to touch a few old buildings then!

      Speaking of old buildings, I was in a park in Suzchou years ago. The tour guide talked of buildings over 1500 years old. It really made me see how ancient the culture was. My neighborhood back in the States was only 30 years old!

      • Ha! You reminded me of when I visited my Canadian relatives and they kept apologising for how new all their buildings were! They seemed to think I wouldn’t be impressed by anything less than a thousand years old… 😉

      • In the northeastern States, we brag about buildings that are over three hundred years old. They’re babies in comparison to, say, the Parthenon. 🙂

  10. Congratulations to all the winners!

    Passion wanes. Motivation falls by the way side. I go back to the reason I started the journey in the first place. My fears, excitement, uncertainties, prayers, and sense of adventure at the beginning, can usually be found in a journal or three. My ‘roots’ help steady me.

  11. Congratulations, Laura! You’ll love these books! The YA novels that set me on my path were S.E. Hinton’s The Outsiders and Robert Cormier’s The Chocolate War. Their themes of outsiders against the system inform most of my writing too.

  12. My mother Instilled in me the religious beliefs , my father, the taste of work well done and well finished .and also the love of nature and gardens .
    The books that inspired me were Jungle’s book of Kipling and Michel Strogoff by Jules Verne
    Two heroes very different in those two books .
    I loved when I was a child reading the albums of Tintin by Hergé.
    But other things have moldered me . But am I am able to remember immediately?
    In friendship
    Michel;

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