Sunday, July 26, 2009

Origin of a title

Children of the Waters is the title of my latest. It's the English definition of a Japanese word mizuko. And relates to the idea that life is a continuum; mizuko are beings that die in the womb either to abortion or miscarriage. For many in Japan, the idea is that fetuses aren't babies yet but they're also more than simply "a clump of cells." Jizo is the protector of mizuko, sort of their patron saint. Some Japanese make memorials to their lost children at Jizo shrines.

I learned about this tradition in an article in the New York Times by Peggy Orenstein years ago. It comforted me after I had a miscarriage (I've had two.).

While I was writing the book, I did more research on mizuko and Jizo and found this dealer who sells hand-carved Jizo statues. I had to have one. So now I have Jizo in my office.

I believe we're all on a continuum. None of us is ever done and we're always in a state of becoming. So it fit my story since Billie, Trish and Will are all struggling with the questions Who am I? We all ask ourselves that question from time to time and the answer changes throughout our lives.

The first question the Mixed Chicks ask on their chats is "What are you?" You can listen to my answer here. How would you answer either question-Who are you? Or what are you?


LadyLee said...

Well, Botanical Chick, I thought it was a very fine and conceptually appropriate title for this book. For some reason, I thought the title referred to the Children of some folks whose last name was Waters. A few chapters into the book, and I realized that wasn't the case (i.e., no one's last name was Waters, lol).

Who am I? What am I? Well I know one thing: I am too longwinded to answer THAT question. In a nutshell, I am who I am. I am here, I exist, and I have a specific purpose unique only to me, dynamically different from anyone born before me or anyone to come after me. And I embrace and celebrate this uniqueness. That's me in a nutshell:)

Cherlyn Michaels said...

i love when there's a story within the title itself. looking forward to reading this. i'll be in touch about it.

Leslie said...

What a wonderful explanation. Thank you for sharing. AND by the way, loved seeing your name in the sunday paper - near the top of the list for the local favorites - fiction!!

Carleen Brice said...

Hey LL, Good answer!

Cherlyn, Would love to hear your thoughts.

Leslie, Thanks!

chele said...

I just bought Children of the Waters. I've only read the first 20 pages and I am intrigued!