In which I am probably influenced by things I hear.

So, the heroine of the first Fates project is a woman.  She’s been alive for a very long time.  She’s well traveled.  Right now, she’s pretty Anglo-centric.

Now, I’m not sure about you, but I have a decent little commute to and from work every day.  With thirty minutes each way (and only one highly terrible English radio station to tune into), I like mixing up a variety of podcasts and, needing a bit of culture and interesting subjects, recently started listening to TEDTalks (well worth the download!).  On my drive home tonight while I ducked in and out of the chaos on the roads that is rush hour in Qatar, my iPod randomly selected a discussion where the speaker brought up the concept of Ubuntu.

Little Western me, I’m always looking for concepts or ideas than can help build my character (obvious pun is obvious) and try to be open to whatever random fact life will throw at me.  Today was ‘ubuntu,’ and while I’m still trying to figure out exactly how I’ll squeeze it into the novel, I thought the idea was worth sharing here.

Taken from the Wikipedia entry (hey – don’t blame me, there aren’t a lot of libraries over here in Doha!):

This is the truth taught to us in an old South African principle, ubuntu, or ‘A person is a person through other persons.’ As Archbishop Desmond Tutu describes this perspective, ubuntu ‘is not, “I think therefore I am.” It says rather: “I am a human because I belong. I participate. I share.”’ In essence, I am because you are.

Probably this all resonates with me because it goes back to one of all my all time favorites sonnets, something I learned my junior year in Mrs. King’s English class, John Donne’s classic Meditation XVII:

No man is an Island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main…  Any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind; and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.

Hence why The Bell Tolls is one of many titles I’m considering for the project at the moment.  I would add Ubuntu to the list, but while it’s a good fit for the overall concept of the book, I think I’d be mixing too many ideas (the Greek pantheon / African philosophy) to make sense.

Why even bring this up?

My character’s main struggle is why she has been alive for so long.  (No, she’s not a vampire).  I like to think her biggest lesson comes from the above idea.  I hope I’ve accurately portrayed above throughout the book.  If I was a better author I would write some sort of background scene or short story where she first interacted with the concept.

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