writers / writing

#IWSG March–Celebrations in My Writing


This post is for Alex Cavanaugh’s Insecure Writers Support Group (click the link for details on what that means and how to join). You will also find a list of bloggers signed up to the challenge that are worth checking out. The first Wednesday of every month, we all post our thoughts, fears or words of encouragement for fellow writers.

This month’s question — Other than the obvious holiday traditions, have you ever included any personal or family traditions/customs in your stories?

This month I am co-host along with my wonderful fellow co-hosts:

Shannon Lawrence  http://thewarriormuse.blogspot.com/

Sarah Foster http://thefauxfountainpen.blogspot.com/

Natalie Aguirre  http://www.literaryrambles.com/    

Lisa Buie-Collard  http://www.lisabuiecollard.com/

Celebrations–what a great way to add excitement and authenticity to a story! I do this as often as possible. Not necessary the obvious holidays but those that are unique and would interest readers.

For example, my novel, Twenty-four Days, predominantly takes place on a Naval cruiser, the USS Bunker Hill. I share a lot of information about daily life on a warship (thanks to my daughter who’s served on several). In this case, my character crosses the equator aboard ship for the first time and participates in the Navy’s four-hundred-year-old ceremony called the Line Crossing Ceremony:

The ceremony observes a mariner’s transformation from slimy Pollywog, a seaman who hasn’t crossed the equator, to trusty Shellback, also called a Son or Daughter of Neptune. Historically, it was a way for sailors to be tested for their seaworthiness. Now, it’s simply a reason to celebrate the event of crossing the equator.

Luckily, my daughter participated in this and gave me an in-depth explanation of what was involved. If this grabs your attention, check out Veterans United’s in-depth explanation.

Now, I’m off to see what your traditions are.

#iwsg #amwriting

@TheIWSG

More on #IWSG

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Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy, the Rowe-Delamagente thrillers, and the Man vs. Nature saga. She is also the author/editor of over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, adjunct professor of technology in education, blog webmaster, an Amazon Vine Voice,  a columnist for NEA Today, and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. Look for her next prehistoric fiction, Against All Odds, Winter 2020. You can find her tech ed books at her publisher’s website, Structured Learning

111 thoughts on “#IWSG March–Celebrations in My Writing

  1. Hi Jacqui!

    Sorry I’m (very) late to the party, but thank you for co-hosting the IWSG blog hop this month. Almost time for the next one!

    I agree that describing (or “showing”) particular celebrations in novels and memoirs are enlightening, informative, and sometimes intriguing. I’ve crossed the equator multiple times when backpacking and flying, but the most memorable time was when my husband and I crossed it in our 35ft sailboat between Panama and the Galapagos Islands. I took a photo of all the zeros on our log and we celebrated with a drink – for us and for Neptune. I mention this occasion in my memoir.

    Other than that, I also describe a few cultural celebrations we encountered and participated in during our eight years on the water. Small snippets, as there is so much to experience when living a nomadic lifestyle and this particular memoir covers a decade. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m always a little jealous o people (like you) who can get comfortable anywhere in the world. I rely on habits and familiarity to find a workable lifestyle. I wouldn’t mind being different. Love that story of crossing the equator and that you celebrated in your own way. The good news is, you saluted Neptune. I know he appreciated that.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you Jacqui for this interesting celebratory tradition. Crossing the Equator. I have down so several times, on foot, car and plane but never participated in a celebration before. See you next week on how we are coping with lockdown. Keep safe.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. We have a tradition in our family of holding a family reunion every 5 years. This is when the descendants of my great grandparents, who immigrated to Canada in 1911, get together to eat, play games and visit. There can be as many as 200 attending. I included a similar family reunion in my book, Amanda in Alberta: The Writing on the Stone.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. That’s an interesting tradition. My older brother is in Navy and now I wonder if he had such a celebration. And what other traditions he participated in. Might make good research material in the future.

    Thanks for co-hosting! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • Life aboard a ship is pretty darn interesting. They work 24/7–no “i’m off” sort of excuses. It’s pretty exhausting.

      Like

    • Honestly, I don’t spend a lot of time on it in the book, more in passing. But I do discuss life aboard a ship for a female quite a bit. I have to–my protagonist is female!

      Like

  5. Never heard of the line crossing ceremony, but Navy folks are weird. 😀 My first unit in the Army was the 2nd Engineer Battalion. They had a special history from the Korean War as one of the last units to be overrun by the North Korean forces at the beginning of the war. When they were routed, they burned their unit flag (the colors) so it couldn’t be captured by the enemy. In modern times, on the anniversary of that date, the battalion (since disbanded) did a unique “burning of colors” ceremony. It was very similar in the formal conduct of the ceremony, yet so unlike anything else I’ve seen in the Army.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, so true. It takes most of the day, too! And afterwards, everyone gets a certificate. It’s a big deal to them.

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  6. I love it when writers like you bring humanity to our men and women in uniform. Thank you for sharing your daughter’s experiences. My hope is always that it will make readers pause and reflect on the sacrifices made for our freedom.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It could be. They ended up on warships and I seem to recall one crossing the equator while they were aboard. Very cool.

      Like

    • The Navy does a lot of these and if you write a military book, they better be there or the book doesn’t sound authentic. I loved learning about them but it’s a challenge to not miss something important–probably why I switched genres.

      Liked by 1 person

    • My daughter got one, too. It’s now on the wall of her home office. They’re very colorful, aren’t they? Frame it–it’s part of Naval history.

      Liked by 1 person

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