Despite my daughter staying home from school today — yes, only the second day of school and I’m dealing with a sick child — I was able to get in a 45-minute writing session and meet my goal: 4 written pages, roughly 1,000 words (I still have to test that out by typing up what I’ve written so far).
I had a surprise in store…researching something that came up, a detail that just offered itself to me…swastikas, or rather, sauvastika: the mirror-image of the hated Nazi symbol, its right angles forming counter-clockwise Ls (the sauvastika). Apparently the Nazis subjugated the good-luck version (backwards Ls) and the counter-clockwise one meant the opposite:
“Some cultures in the past had differentiated between the clockwise swastika and the counter-clockwise sauvastika. In these cultures the swastika symbolized health and life while the sauvastika took on a mystical meaning of bad-luck or misfortune.”
My characters encounter a sauvastika in the tiles on the floor of a foyer in an old apartment building (circa 1920s). I had a similar experience in Chicago, in the foyer of my sister’s apartment at the time. I can’t tell you if it was right- or left-facing, but I can tell you I had a very visceral reaction to seeing that symbol under my feet (mainly, “why haven’t they replaced this floor in the last 70 years?!”)
I came across a booth at the Ann Arbor Antiques Market two years ago that featured nothing but swastikas/sauvastikas…not just on Nazi paraphernalia (which was sparse, and hidden) but on Native American baskets and rugs (presumed Navajo) and American patchwork quilts. The man who owned the booth was well-versed on the reaction to such a symbol, and readily offered a deeper history of it as one of good luck. He insisted the counter-clockwise symbol (where the right angles form recognizable Ls) meant something along the lines of “Life, Love,” etc. However, being that this symbol is over 3,000 years old (predating the Egyptian ankh…and our alphabet), I’m going to have to decide which direction this symbol faces in my plot’s apartment building. It may mean a whole lot of difference between good and bad things having happened there.
My daughter is lying on the couch, (I think…if she were “laying” she’d have to be setting something else down, right? Like, laying eggs?! Oh, Grammar…you annoying bitch) making noises in her sleep as if she were battling evil. I just took her temperature — 102. Ugh. Which means no school tomorrow, either, but I know I can make my writing goal anyway.
And maybe find another surprise to research later.
I love writing.