A Little Backstory

Dear friend,

Have you ever tried to choose a blog name? If you have, you know how difficult it is to find one that hasn’t been taken. I went through many good and not-so-good (actually, really bad) ideas before I came up with My Name is Allison, and now I’d like to tell you a little bit about the name that stuck.

My inspiration was a book written by the lovely David Almond. I met Mr. Almond last summer while I was in England. His books are magical and inspiring, and I was so pleased to find that Mr. Almond matches his work in kindness and in generosity (one thing I learned this summer, while meeting a fair number of writers, was that this is not always the case!).


Here is Mr. Almond with me and my beautiful traveling companions from this summer.

The book is My Name is Mina, a recently published prequel to Mr. Almond’s first young adult novel, Skellig. Both books are completely wonderful, and you should read them (but read Skellig first!).



The beautiful books!

Here is an excerpt from the beginning of My Name is Mina:

My name is Mina and I love the night. Anything seems possible at night when the rest of the world has gone to sleep. It’s dark and silent in the house, but if I listen close, I hear the beat beat beat of my heart. I hear the creak and crack of the house. I hear my mum breathing gently in her sleep in the room next door.

I slip out of bed and sit at the table by the window. I tug the curtain open. There’s a full moon in the middle of the sky. It bathes the world in its silvery light. It shines on Falconer Road and on the houses and the streets beyond, and on the city roofs and spires and on the distant mountains and moors. It shines into the room and on to me.

….

There’s an empty notebook lying on the table in the moonlight. It’s been there for an age. I keep on saying that I’ll write a journal. So I’ll start right here, right now. I open the book and write the very first words:

MY NAME IS MINA
AND I LOVE THE NIGHT.

Then what shall I write? I can’t just write that this happened then this happened then this happened to boring infinitum. I’ll let my journal grow just like the mind does, just like a tree or a beast does, just like life does. Why should a book tell a tale in a dull straight line?

(I can still hear Mr. Almond’s voice in my head, reading this passage to us.)

I hope that Mr. Almond wouldn’t mind my use of his title; I hope that my blog will live up to its inspiration. For me, this means sharing the light and love in the world. It means finding beauty and wonder, and it sometimes also means letting in the night. It means making the little details that turn ordinary life into something special.

Mina says, “BE BRAVE!” so this blog is my first tiny brave step towards these things which may seem intangible and idealistic, but which to me are very solid and real. These things are my promise to you, dear reader. I hope you will be inspired.

With love and light,

Allison

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3 thoughts on “A Little Backstory

  1. christinied says:

    You inspire me 🙂 Just thought you’d like to know!

    <3!

  2. I thought your subtitle was a reference to physical light, because I know how much you hate the short days in winter. I guess that fits in with the more abstract meanings as well. 🙂

    Does the white bird (is it a little goose?) have anything to do with the book?

    • Allison says:

      It refers to that as well. 🙂

      The bird (I guess it’s a goose?) is just a little guy I picked up at an Easter sale a couple years back. Mina is a little bit obsessed with birds, and she talks about them a lot in Skellig, but that’s the extent of the association. Good question, though! Truthfully, I just put him in there because he’s cute.

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