When the barista asked me for my name, I was tempted to say ‘Amarantha’.
Amarantha is the name of the main character in the short story “How Beautiful With Shoes” by Wilbur Daniel Steele, which I’d just read.
“Marion,” I said. She wrote it on the cardboard cup as ‘Marine’.
Marine is tall, dark haired, elegant, with striking dark blue eyes. Everyone does a double take when they look into those eyes, even people who know her well, though very few know her really well.
She wears slim skirts, killer heels. High-powered, or at least on her way to being high powered. She has efficient relationships and rarely loses her cool. This is not natural, it was hard come by as she was born a revolutionary, a rebel.
She has a curious gait, a loose limbed, uneven stride as though she’s picking her way over uneven territory – a pitted sidewalk or a tangled moss-veined path through a tropical forest. This gait is the result of a fall when climbing out of her bedroom window one teenage night. She’d broken her leg on the grouping of gnome statues in the flowerbed below and, refusing to give in to her parents by calling out to them for help, she lay there all night, in pain, on the increasingly cold and dewy lawn. By the time the newspaper delivery guy caught sight of her as the newspaper arced from his hand towards the front door, she knew she could bear anything.
My mind jumps back to Amarantha. We often do what I’m doing, intuitively create a character who seems appropriate for a name. Or we might search for a name appropriate for a particular character. Continue reading