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Power of a Symbol

It's April 2nd and I joined a NaNoWriMo Camp to push myself to write hard this month. My goal is to write 50,000 words. NBD. I want to get this thing written before camp starts this summer. My husband and I work full time at a camp all summer, and I'm afraid of losing momentum.

Recently, I have been reminded of the power a symbol can carry in stories. All the great stories, or movements, have a symbol threading throughout, supporting the general spirit of the journey the characters go through. The ring in The Lord of the Rings, and the mockingjay in The Hunger Games, to name a few. A symbol would be very compelling in this story. I have a few ideas, but I would also love your feedback.

The interesting thing about writing this story, is thinking about how a typical American family would respond to situations that most of the world face in the daily. It's not pretty. On the whole, Americans are very privileged, and so tend to be entitled. Strip all that away, and what are you left with? I don't think it would be said of most Americans in such a situation that they were full of life and spirit, which are terms I've heard used to describe today's refugees.

Can I call them something besides refugees? They are displaced survivors. The term "refugee" thrust upon them. They're humans just like us. Some are even beginning to thrive in lands completely foreign to them. Their resilience astounds me. Be wild and free, my friends.

I don't think anyone would accuse me of being very patriotic, though I try not to take my privileges for granted. But I imagine a typical American with some spunk, a Texan (attacked for the oil), would respond in an underhanded, patriotic way. So, I'm looking for a symbol of freedom. The enemy (I hate that word. Jesus's words about "enemies" are ingrained deep in me) may take their homes and their lives, but they can't take their spirit of hope and freedom! Cue epic music. I'm working on some loose ideas, a bird's wings, maybe some type of banner to symbolize unity.

Aside: did you know America's national bird was almost the turkey?! How's that for majestic?

I'm hoping to have a friend sketch up some ideas for me, and I'll share them with you. In the meantime, do you have any ideas for a compelling symbol? Leave your thoughts in the comments!

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