“Tailor”

Okay, you were promised-slash-warned that this guy would keep coming up (and he had to know that I couldn’t go long without dedicating a piece to him), so nobody should be surprised right now.

            One of my earliest memories with this word is from Tevye’s dream sequence in the musical film “Fiddler on the Roof”. (Haven’t seen this? You’re missing out. I get no kicks whatsoever from the depressing plight of mistreated Russian Jews, and I still highly recommend this musical, at least Part One. It’s like the law of musicals or something, have you noticed? – everything goes downhill after Intermission.) I’ll resist the temptation to go off on a tangent about all the fun lyrics throughout the show and hone in on the relevant bit where Tevye sings, “You must have heard wrong, Grandma – there’s no tailor.

            Thanks to “FotR”, I knew that a tailor was someone who sews clothes. As far as Childhood Me was concerned, that and the funny line in the song was all I needed to know on the subject. But a couple years ago, my perception of this word underwent some major overwriting, and that is thanks entirely to Edgwyn Wyle.

            As it happens, my “Wilderhark Tales” series was not originally intended to be a series at all. It started out as a single book – just one little fairytale, meant to stand alone. Then, a little while after its completion, I decided to write a sequel. That’s where Edgwyn came in, and that’s why there was a third book hot on Book Two’s heels: I wanted more of the tailor, and I wanted more of him yesterday.

            How come I love him so much? That’s a question I’d be glad to discuss for hours on end – (gushing about favorite characters: It’s like the Great Authorial Pastime) – and one which breeds some important follow-up questions for me to keep in mind: “How to keep it brief?”, “how to steer clear of all kinds of spoilers?” and “how to avoid embarrassing him too much?” Well, I’ll just stick to the basics. (And if/when that embarrasses him, tough. I’ve told him he’s too bloody modest.)

            Firstly, I love him because he is kind – “kind” in every sense of the adjective; warm-hearted, charitable, forbearing, the whole shebang. You’re not gonna find a nicer guy than him; a tie, maybe, but he’ll never be out-niced! Niceness by itself, however, can be frightfully dull. No one wants to put up with some saint sans personality. Happily, Edgwyn has personality going for him, too. He’s a goofball and a tease, with a recurrent laugh somewhat reminiscent of a villain’s in its rascally abandon. (Not quite “Muah-ha-ha-ha!”, but well on its way, sometimes.)

            Then there are the glimpses of intuitive emotional wisdom. (My friends and I call him The Heart-Smart One.) And his adorably sweet reactions to… well, most things. His sincerity, his selflessness, his strength… And I happen to think he’s pretty darn handsome, too (three words: Big and green-eyed), but that’s subjective and partially beside the point.

            All that, and he’s a brilliant tailor! So yeah, Edg, that’s why you just need to resign yourself to being talked about. A lot. …Especially once your series gets published, and everybody else loves you, too, muah-ha-ha-ha.

            In the mean-Wyle, I’ve had my gush, and now I’m all ears: Any other writers out there just itching to introduce me to the character they love above all others? Comment away! Edgwyn and I would be pleased to meet them!

“Tirzah”

Rather than turn to my trusty dictionary, I’ll let a dear (and fully material) friend of mine define this word for you:

            “My name is Tirzah. It’s said Teer-zah. It’s a Bible name. It was the name of a city. It means Delight. Or Cyprus Tree.

I met a kid. After observing me for a few months, he made a decision.

Tirzah should be a word. A word meaning Weird, Strange, and Unorthodox.

He started using the word. His friends started using the word. I started using the word. My mom started using the word.

I am not sure what I think.

‘Hi, I’m Tirzah.’

‘Tirzah? Like the WORD Tirzah?’

Yes. Very like the word.”

            Thus did this particular young lady introduce herself in her NaNoWriMo author bio. Even so, it was several weeks before I thought to call her Tirzah, referring to her instead by the fond epithet SlytherinFox.

            It was actually a fox that brought us together – her thief lord character whose name, in his language, means “fox”. I read Tirzah’s description of him in one of the many NaNo forums; he intrigued me (foxes? Thieves? Let me in on it!), and I contacted Tirzah to tell her so.

            The rest is well-documented history. Brief NaNoMails turned into lengthy NaNoMails. (Yes, we’ve saved them all.) To this, we added emails, later segueing into Facebook messages and phone calls. (And if the transcripts of those extensive phone calls ever fell into the wrong hands, we could both of us end up convicted of anything you like.) We shared our NaNo novels in progress, other stories, songs, and poetry. We drew the first-ever fan art for each other’s MCs (meaning “main characters”, everyone, not “masters of ceremonies”). I fell for her thief lord, she fell for my minstrel (my minstrel fell for her…), and over the course of it all, I arrived at a conclusion:

            Everybody needs a Tirzah in their lives.

Someone with whom to share your passions (predominantly writing-related, in our case, but by no means limited to that).

Someone to laugh with you at everything and nothing (predominantly nothing, it sometimes seems).

Someone to listen while you cry, or cry while you listen.

Someone to rejoice with you during your highs, and encourage you during your lows (or to give you a kick in the pants, when a soft touch won’t cut it, apparently).

Someone to be so blatantly positive that you’ll want to shake them silly.

Someone who’s seen you at your ugliest, and likes you anyway.

            Keep your unorthodoxy and cypress tress – to me, “Tirzah” means “Friend, capital ‘F’”.