Sunday, 15 May 2011

Butterflies and Writing

Some of my friends and family know that I like butterflies and they have often bought me one as a gift for birthday or Christmas - not a real one I hasten to say! Some of the lovely items that contained a butterfly include:  a brooch, a candle, painted on a shawl, embellishment on a jewellery stand, a picture on a notebook. These are only the things I can think of immediately. Many of my gorgeous cards contain a butterfly, or two.


Well my dear friend, Catriona, surpassed herself the other day when she handed me a gift to celebrate publication of my first novel, Dangerous Deceit. She has always been hugely supportive and that was more than enough. Besides which, her husband bought my e-book for her right away so she could read it on her computer! So I opened the beautiful white box in mounting curiosity to find, nestled amongst white tissue paper, a heavy filligree hanging butterfly!


What a lovely, unexpected surprise, especially since we were supposed to be celebrating her birthday, which was my treat. One of the reasons I was so touched is because my friend knows that I consider myself a butterfly writer, and she actually wrote that on the card. How lovely that she knows me so well!

So, a butterfly writer. Why? Well the symbolism of that little insect who changes from a crawling catterpiller through different stages to such a colourful creature with wings, is a powerful image of a fledgling writer learning to make their words soar. Then there is the fact that I write anything and everything from short stories, articles, children's stories, and even poetry, to novels. I flit happily from one kind of writing to another, staying for a while before moving on to the next.

I also love the symbolism of butterflies in some cultures. In Greek mythology, Psyche, meaning 'soul', is represented by a butterfly. Even in Christianity, a butterfly often symbolises a person's soul crossing to the hereafter, and it is depicted in many works of art. In Chinese and Japanese culture the butterfly is often a symbol of joy and happiness. No wonder so many people use the butterfly symbol in some way!

Here are two little quotations to leave you, from my little gift book, Songs of the Earth:

"The butterfly flitting from flower to flower ever remains mine, I lose the one that is netted by me." Rabindranath Tagore, Indian poet (1861-1941)

"I do not know whether I was then a man dreaming I was a butterfly, or whether I am now a butterfly dreaming I am a man."
Chuang Tzu (369-286 B.C.), Chinese sage

22 comments:

CarolB said...

I didn't know that Greek mythology about butterflies, or the other symbolism- thank you for sharing it Rosemary. I will certainly look at the butterflies that visit my garden in the summer in a new light.

Joanna said...

A beautiful post, Rosemary. I love the two quotations. And what a lovely friend you have in Catriona, too.
My husband has purchased your e-book for me and I'm really looking forward to it!

Teresa Ashby said...

I love the expression A Butterfly Writer. There is something very special about butterflies - the quotes are lovely.

Rosemary Gemmell said...

Hi Carol - I'd known about the happiness meaning for a while, but only recently heard someone talking about seeing a butterfly at her friend's funeral and its symbolism with the soul. I thought that was lovely and I then discovered the Greek mythology connection.

Rosemary Gemmell said...

Hi Joanna - many thanks to you and your husband for getting my book! I do hope you enjoy it. That first quote also reminds me of cutting a beautiful rose bud, only to see it wither and die once in a vase (I used the rose in a story).

Rosemary Gemmell said...

Hi Teresa - I suspect many of us are butterfly writers! Glad you liked the quotes.

UteCarbone said...

Lovely post, Rosemary. I love the term 'butterfly writer'. I flit across several kinds of writing as well and have always just called it 'distracted by shiny objects.' Butterfly writer is much more poetic.
The quotes are wonderful

Julie Eberhart Painter said...

Our local hospice uses the butterfly symbol. Many of our bereaved survivors have seen clusters of butterflie visit after their loved one died. We used butterflies on one of our anthologies. Look it up on Amazon.com under Judy Voss, author.

Rosemary Gemmell said...

Hi Ute - thanks for leaving a comment; from one butterfly writer to another!

Hi Julie - That's very interesting about the cluster of butterflies. Will look up the book.

Anonymous said...

What a lovely gift. You have a wonderful friend. Keep spreading those wings, Rosemary!! I can see you flying far in your career.

Linda Kage

Janice Horton said...

What a lovely post and fabulous gift - so thoughtfully given. I knew you were a butterfly writer Rosemary - but didn't realise you had a passion for the wee winged creatures! Perhaps you can use the butterfly image as a logo for your writing? If you do, I'd patent the design you choose if I were you, so no one can steal it when you are super famous.

Bill Kirton said...

Nice writer/butterfly comparison Rosemary. I was all ready to chastise you because I thought you were going to do the 'I have a butterfly mind' thing of never settling long on a particular topic but you fooled me. Now I know what to get you for Christmas.

Rosemary Gemmell said...

Hi Linda - thanks for coming over. That's a kind thing to say - from the lady who produces so much writing! I have great admiration for what you achieve in your life.

Rosemary Gemmell said...

Hi Janice - thanks for that. Hm, didn't think of a logo. And I'd just settle for being a little bit famous (in my dreams)!

Hello Bill - fortunately I'm able to settle long enough on one thing before moving on to the next!

Melanie said...

Great post. The butterfly is gorgeous! Janice has an excellent idea of having a butterfly for a logo.

Jude Johnson said...

What a beautiful piece of artistry to commemorate your novel's release! Congratulations, and thank you for opening my eyes anew to the wondrous creatures flitting around the back yard... And yes, I think it would make a great logo, too!

Rosemary Gemmell said...

Hi Melanie - thanks for your comment. Will need to give serious thought to that idea!

Hello Jude - nice to see you, and thank you for that comment. I guess I'd beter start thinking how I could make that logo!

Karen said...

What a beautiful gift. I love butterflies too. Funny how moths are sort of the same, yet I'm terrified of them!

Debs Carr said...

What a thoughtful gift to buy you. I love butterflies and always get so excited when I see them in the garden.

K.C. Woolf said...

Lovely butterfly gifts. :-) I love butterflies as well. The lavender in our garden will bloom soon and they'll be all over. :-)

Rosemary Gemmell said...

Hi Karen - thanks for commenting. I know what you mean - they're similar but evoke such different feelings!

Rosemary Gemmell said...

Hi Debs - I'd love to see more of them. Will need to get some better plants for them!

Hello K.C. - thanks for visiting. Unfortunately, I need new lavender plants so thanks for reminding me about them!