Daddy's Christmas Angel

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Dragonflies, Luck, Magic, Hemingway, and Night Watch

Hemingway House Dragonfly Fountain
Not long ago, when we arrived at our vacation condo, I was surprised to hear persistent thumping against the wide sliding glass doors that overlook a lagoon. When I went to investigate the noise, I discovered two large dragonflies crashing into the glass outside. It was as if they were trying to attract my attention.

I had to smile. For me, the dragonfly is a symbol of good luck.

Earlier in the summer, I discovered I'm not the only writer who is enamored with the dragonfly. When we entered the yard of the Hemingway House in Key West, the first thing I saw was a fountain in which a dragonfly sculpture was central. Before I snapped a large array of photographs, I sat by the little fountain for a while just studying it.

What is it about these little fast-flying creatures with the luminous wings that attracts us? For the past few months, I've noticed the symbol more and more--scarves in the Butterfly Conservatory gift shop, jewelry in catalogs, Christmas decorations. They are everywhere.

But the item that has attracted me most is a necklace created by artist Tina McCloud. When I first saw her wearing that necklace, I fell in love with it and bought it from her on the spot. Then, suddenly, I was compelled to find a place for it in the book I was writing at the time.

How could the necklace be connected to the plot of my mystery/suspense story, Night Watch, set in Trinidad? I pondered until I imagined the perfect way to create a critical tie between the heroine of my book and that necklace.

Now, I wear the necklace often, especially when I go somewhere to promote Night Watch. Wherever I wear it, perfect strangers stop to admire it and ask about it. It's another symbol to let me know that dragonflies are magical. And I feel the magic every time I see one.

Writers need magic and a lot of good luck. They need dragonflies.


N. R. Williams said...

I love dragonflies too. Butterflies as well. When I was little I used to look to see if any faeries were hitchhiking a ride on the back of a dragonfly.
N. R. Williams, fantasy author

Amy Sikes said...

There are lots of dragonflies - and butterflies - around my house! :)

And aren't you supposed to be out playing tennis, not blogging?? ;)

LeaWait said...

I believe dragonflies are secretly fairies! In a scene in my book FINEST KIND my 13-year-old protagonist, Jake, walks through a field of dragonflies, amazed that they surround but never touch him.
The book is set in 1838. There is also some prehistoric about dragonflies ... enjoyed your blog!

Monti said...

Thanks, Nancy. What a fun thing to look for fairy hitchhikers!

Amy, it was raining here this a.m. Besides I can't desert the Internet.
Yea for all your dragonflies and butterflies.

Lea, you must write YA!!! Secret fairies--I like that!


Kara said...

I've always wanted to go to the Hemingway House in Key West! I enjoyed your post...especially the part about using a real piece of jewelry as a pivotal moment in your novel. I'm always curious to hear where others find their inspiration.

Helen Ginger said...

Gracious! I've been to the Hemingway house twice and never noticed that fountain. I'll look for it the next time. Dragonflies are like butterflies. I stop to watch them.