Monday, October 19, 2009

Chokecherries and aprons

Janet Tronstad here, thinking of fall and the symbols of our lives. Why is it that fall makes me think more than, say, spring? I wonder if it's because I was born in a snow blizzard and realize instinctively that winter is a time for reflection. Anyway, I talked to our local RWA writer's group recently about the use of symbols in our books. One of the ones I talked about was something I used in my Dry Creek series in the book about Mrs. Hargrove. I used the chokecherry to symbolize how tough she was as a Montana farmwife (as opposed to the woman her husband had an affair with who she saw as a hothouse peach). I think a book with a symbol adds extra emotional punch. I also believe that we can use symbols in our lives to help us see who we are at different stages. My sister cherishes aprons from various phases of her life and those have become symbols for her. I have different 'mood' necklaces that symbolize different stages of my life (a necklace of colorful marbles, one of silver coins, one of white pearls). Do you have objects that symbolize different parts of your life, or different seasons?


  1. I have to say im not sure what chokecherries are.
    not sure if we have them in Australia. not sure I have things that are for different seasons But I do love the warmer days. (we had one today) I was getting tired of all the rain.

  2. Jenny,
    It was a hundred degrees here in Arizona yesterday. Same the day before. I'm not sure what symbols my life unless you want to talk about books.

  3. I didn't notice this until reading your post, Janet, but I use different coffee cups depending on what I'm going through. LOL!

    I have two with faces on them. A grumpy face and one with a surprised face. The other with just a smile and it makes me happy to look at it. But some days and in some seasons I can't drink from the happy face cup because it makes me want to fling it. LOL!

    I have a cup that has a Bible scripture on it that has gotten me through hard times. I use that in difficult seasons where the only way I can go forward is by the power of God and his written promises.

    Great post. Thought provoking. I'm very interested in learning more about chokeberries.


  4. Ausjenny and Cheryl -- Chokecherries are a small, bitter berry that grow wild in eastern Montana (where not much else in the way of fruit can grow). They're tough, but make delicious jellies and syrups (given enough sugar). I used them in the book to show my character viewed herself as a survivor in difficult times.

  5. Cheryl -- I loved the cups! Perfect example of symbols. When I write a character, I try to put visual cues of the person's life on the page (as I'm sure you do). Your cups would definitely make it into the book.


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