Category Archives: On Stories

On Stories

Worlds Gone Wrong


This week, Vancouver is holding its Writers Fest on funky Granville Island. When I looked at the schedule, I was so excited to see dystopia with a starring role, despite it meaning I was now compelled to drive across the city to attend (I haven’t shared much about moving to the city yet, but safe to say driving in it is one of the downsides!).

It was fascinating. I wasn’t previously acquainted with all the speakers, though it was brilliant to see a New Zealand author there – Anna Smaill, whose book The Chimes was long-listed for the Man Booker last year. Passionate Charlotte Wood, droll MG Vassanji, and the astute Michael Helm made up the panel, with Claudia Casper hosting.

I’ve talked and written about dystopia so much – with students and lecturers at Cambridge, with other readers since, with other writers more recently, but just as it is with the plethora of books that keep coming out in the genre, while similar themes abounded, the conversation was unique. The discussion ranged around a world of issues and the issues of writing different worlds – worlds gone wrong. The speakers were engaging, their excerpts intriguing and they lit a fire under me to do more with my writing.

The tagline of the Vancouver Writers Fest is: Reimagine Your World. I can’t think of anything more fitting for a writer of dystopia, or for anyone at the moment. The world is full of upheaval. Social arenas online and off are full of politics and vitriol. And so many people are struggling, with personal and public battles.

These writers have reached into a troubled collective psyche and brought nightmare worlds to life. Nightmares that don’t seem as far away as they should; nightmares that are, in a sense, already here.

But it’s important to recognise that the opposite also holds true. So long as we can imagine, we can imagine something better. We can imagine a solution. We can escape.

Whatever your challenges and concerns right now, take a moment and reimagine your world. Imagine a better one. Believe it’s possible. And work towards it.

Singularity. Is. Coming.

Singularity 6 x 9 coverThe time has come.

The time is now.

Singularity is the new novel from Helena Hann-Basquiat, with Sara Litchfield, Sandy Ramsey, Lizzi Rogers and Hannah Sears.

Singularity is the sequel to last year’s JESSICA — a metafictional look into Jessica’s possible pasts.

Singularity is coming August 1, 2015

Singularity is its own novel, and can be enjoyed all on its own, but if you haven’t read JESSICA, GO HERE to read the first chapter or GO HERE to purchase a copy in paperback or e-book.



Sara Wars: The Night Butterflies Vs BL-1 Dark Blue White X-Large 1-Piece Pattern Prayer Muslim Hijab Head Cover Scarf

Screen Shot 2014-09-21 at 7.39.11 PMYou may remember I shouted out a short while ago that my first novel, The Night Butterflies, was coming out – I wasn’t messing with you, it’s on its way. In fact, it should be out already, causing all kinds of havoc.

This post is about patience. Patience is a close cousin to frustration. There have been all sorts of roadblocks to this book. I’ve been navigating the seas of self-publishing as a greenhorn, one unused to the trials of the ocean, and one, moreover, beset by seasickness.

I’m planning a pamphlet on my story – something like, ‘A walk in the jungle: My path to publication’ – it really is an Amazon rainforest out there. You need a guide. Something to repel the creepy crawlies. And, preferably, someone to carry your luggage.

Despite the delays – the tigers, the sharks, the snakes, the storms – I reached the point where my title was to be sent to a printer for a short run and uploaded to Amazon Createspace for Kindle / print-on-demand simultaneously. It’s also going to Smashwords, so it’ll be available on any/all e-readers. Everything is ready – I’m ready. This is supposed to be the delicious distraction away from all things breakup. This and Instagram (damn, I love Instagram).

But, upon upload, I received a notification that my paperback ISBN (the unique global book reference assigned to your title by the national library of your country of residence) clashes with another title at Amazon. I followed up, because, well, it’s in the nature of an ISBN that it shouldn’t clash with anything. But it turns out that it clashes with a head scarf.

As this shouldn’t happen (it’s pretty much like winning the anti-lottery – they say at Amazon this hasn’t come up before), I figured it would be fixed in a day. But I’ve been liaising with CreateSpace, Amazon Customer Service, Amazon Author Services and Amazon Selling Support for coming up a week. Don’t get me wrong, everyone I’ve spoken to has been lovely. But I would *really* like to release my book now.

Your ISBN goes on your back cover and on the copyright page in the front of your book. It is used to make the barcode for the back of the book. It is used to register your book in databases around the world. It is how you track your sales. Having had my covers created, my barcodes bought, my interior formatted and my registrations made – at cost – I’m not keen to push my timescales even further, pay to perform all of this again, and have to request another ISBN when the one I have is valid.

The scarf is not listed on Amazon as a book, though I have found it on listed as a title, which it shouldn’t be – because it is not a book. I’m hoping that Amazon can find a way to change its referencing so that it no longer has an ISBN associated with it and no longer clashes with my Night Butterflies, which I’m sure the world is waiting to read!

In the meantime, I’m practising patience. Does anyone have any tips?!

The Wonder Of Wedding

1527140_10101012401072300_6781860170984257039_nLove is patient, love is kind…

Apologies for my absence, friends and neighbours. I’ve heard tell that the last month has flown by as though only a fortnight – it certainly has for me – and that must stand my excuse.

So much has happened in that time, including an other-worldly amount of transit, which I won’t go into, for fear of frightening you with the violence of my language.

Suffice to say, I’ve been around the world, it feels ten times over. I visited Singapore & went home to England, trekked up to Scotland, over to Wales, and even hopped across to Italy – all to bask in family, friendship and catchups – I’d not been back that way in two years.

But the highlight – that was a wedding. Today, back on kiwi soil, I’d like to tell you a love story.

You may remember, in the michaelmas of 2004, I went up to Cambridge to read theology. There I met a crowd of A-Staircase folk in my fresher’s term with whom I became fast friends. One wee group of us became referred to in and amongst ourselves as the bunnies.

Two of these bunnies, both studying history, both musically talented, both the most loyal and lovely of people, fell in love. There was laughter, joy, tea and cake (gatherings galore in Juliet’s room), and, of course, as life often holds, some tears (I once dropped Jonny’s birthday cake in the courtyard and cried). But, together, we flourished.

There was nothing quite like coming back together ten years on, convening where it all began and heading to the chapel to see these two bunnies take their vows.

Vows are a solemn affair, but life is full of lightness, and that was the overriding emphasis I took from the day. The world can be cruel, but it is worthwhile. Life can be spiteful, but it can be beautiful. It’s proven when two worthy people find their soul mate in each other and discover the happiness inherent in their togetherness.

I am not religious, but coming together to celebrate faith, hope and love for my friends and between my friends was certainly an experience to lift the spirit. I hope everyone experiences this kind of wonder.

Perhaps you may find this a strange post for me to write right now when I tell you my own love may be lost; when I tell you my days coming back are a little dark and lonely at the moment; that sometimes I feel as though everything’s a bit hopeless, especially when I see the news.

But I have been in the presence of energy, light and liveliness. I’ve held delight, loved it, appreciated it, not taken it for granted for one moment. Life one day will be wholly good again and I have no regrets.

I have seen love; I have known it. It is better to have loved and lost than not have loved at all, don’t you agree? At the same time, I’m happy to dance for those whose love everlasts. The important thing is that there is love in the world – it’s a wonder the way we can come together. In defiance of all the bad.

Jonny & Juliet – thank you for the inspiration your love and union brings. Thank you for making me dance with joy. May your dance last forever.

Live In The Present But Treasure The Past


Robert & Mona Litchfield

Coventry, 24th December 1944

My Nan and Grandad were married on a Christmas eve during the second world war. As I mentioned in my last post, my Grandad was in the Merchant Navy and had seven ships sunk under him. He was either hideously unlucky or gloriously lucky, depending on whether you focus on his repeated survival or how often a watery grave tried to claim him. It’s crazy to imagine how easily I might not have existed. 

My Nan worked in the local pharmacy. She was originally from Wales, but her whole family moved to the city of Coventry, famous for Lady Godiva and the Coventry cathedral, which was destroyed in the blitz in 1940. My Grandad had been inside, putting out incendiary bombs, but the rescue attempt was no use and now only ruins remain. 

I don’t know how my grandparents met. I know that my Nan’s previous boyfriend died, his whole family victims of one of the Coventry bombings. I just can’t imagine what life must have been like, living in ever-present fear and losing people constantly. It makes me determined never to take my peaceful existence for granted.

When I was little and my grandparents babysat my younger sister and I, we used to tear around their little house, playing at dressing up and uncovering secrets in the jewellery boxes and containers hidden in the cupboards. I once found an old biscuit tin full of alien items from another world – ration stamps, identity cards, badges, pins… And letters – love letters.

When I was a teenager, my Nan died after a ten year battle with cancer, leaving my Grandad inconsolable, just waiting until he could join her through the years that followed. He counted every day. When my Grandad finally left us as well, my Dad and I cleaned out the wee house that he and his brother had grown up in. I squirrelled away treasures for keepsakes, such as the photograph above. I hunted high and low for the biscuit tin but I couldn’t find it anywhere. I was devastated not to find the box of memories and momentos of love.  

I love letters like I love books. You can’t hold or smell a text or email. It’s a different feeling. I still write letters and fill cards every so often for that reason – the feeling I have when I receive one myself. I love having something that can be touched; something physical to pin up or put away to look at another day, maybe years away. Maybe one day a grandkid of mine will find a tin, read my writing, and wonder what my life was really like – I like the idea more than the thought of them finding my Facebook. I want them to feel how I feel when I hold a faded photograph and read a letter like the one below. 

I couldn’t find the biscuit tin. But when I picked up the picture of my grandparents on their wedding day, housed in a silver, gilded frame, I had a funny feeling. I opened the back and, sure enough, found a piece of what I’d been looking for. A moment in time. A memory. A reminder that, whatever era you live in, the greatest treasure is love. 



What’s your favourite keepsake? It’s so important to live in and for the present, but we should never forget the inspiration to be found in what is past. 

There Are Stories All Around Us – Happy Stories, Sad Stories & Cover Stories


(c) 2013 NKW-Illustration. All rights reserved.

This post isn’t going to be as light-hearted as usual. It’s still going to be hopeful, however. I hope that in all my posts, hope for the future shines through. Happiness and hope are inextricably linked. And so are stories. I’ve been to a couple of very interesting writers’ meetings recently, where stories real and imagined have been shared. Sometimes the truths in people’s pasts are stranger and more fascinating than the fiction we share with each other.

The more I learn about people, the more I realise that there are stories all around us, even when we’re not conscious of them. Sometimes the pursuit of a make believe story can distract me from the real stories going on around me. Sometimes I’m reminded with a bump. I’ve recently discovered that one of my writing comrades lost a leg in a motorbike crash (he illustrated this by taking it off and placing it on the restaurant table) and ended up counselling his psychoanalyst in subsequent therapy; that another’s father was one of Winston Churchill’s bodyguards during the war; and another’s grandfather was part of the platoon sent to clean up Bergen-Belsen when the war was over.

I ended up sharing that my grandfather on my dad’s side, who was in the merchant navy, had seven ships sunk under him. How I wish wish wish he was still here, so I could record his story. My grandparents on my mum’s side emigrated from China when the communists took over. They had 8 children – their eldest was left behind and adopted in China (that’s another story). My mother was the seventh child, born after they’d settled in Malaysia, once they’d hiked through the jungle from Thailand, the eldest son nearly dying from a snake bite en route. The family had stowed away in the hold of a ship in order to escape China and make it to a safe place. It’s a happy story.

One friend from the group is developing writing courses to help people cope with trauma. She mentioned how people have ‘cover stories’ – they can tell you what happened to them, but they’ve come up with almost a soundbite for it so that the telling of it doesn’t bring back the hurt and harm. To help work through it, you have to slow it down – bring out the details and face them. I’ve done the same when explaining sad things that have happened – skimming over talking about a bereavement so as not to feel it again. My granddad’s told the soundbite of the ‘seven ships’ – but I only know the cover story – not the details. When my friend’s granddaughter asked what it was like, cleaning up Birkenau, all her grandfather said (/could say?) was, ‘horrible.’

And then, today, I saw this Ted talk on everyday sexism from a girl I went to university with, Laura Bates. She’s talking about and encouraging people to share the stories that no one wants to tell and no one wants to hear.

And that links to one of the aims of a charitable organisation I’ve become involved in – Haven Trust (website under development). It has been founded by a lady who escaped a situation of domestic abuse with her children. She was forced to leave with nothing. She’s acquired the management rights to a hotel in Queenstown NZ and is planning to open a centre for victims of domestic violence. She then aims to open 5 more across New Zealand. She started the trust to provide a stepping stone for other families in her position, making it possible to leave when it seems impossible, providing shelter and employment opportunities to help people start over. What she and her children went though is horrific. But horribly commonplace. A purpose of the trust is to help people coming through record and share their stories with the world. Stories that might never else come to light, because of the prison of silence that allows this kind of abuse to go unnoticed and unpunished.

I’ve never experienced anything like this – I’ve been lucky. I’ve known it goes on, but it’s never been near enough to personally affect me. Then, just before I became involved with the trust last year, I found out that a friend was abused by her husband over a long period of time. And no one knew because she didn’t tell anyone. He made her feel like it was her fault. And now he’s divorced her, which is her lucky break and has finally meant she felt she could break her silence. How many other stories are there that don’t make it past someone’s lips and into the world? How many people never get help?
Does anyone have a good story? I think everyone has a good story. The mission of Right Ink On The Wall is one of encouragement. We want people to write ink on the wall of the world. We want people to make the right mark. I want to know people’s stories. Some stories should be shared. Happy stories and sad stories. I want to get to the bottom of people’s cover stories. Because it’s through sharing our stories that we’ll make a better world. Shared experience can inspire action. That’s the hope.

Kade ‘Shenanigans’ Erasmus – A Tribute


‘In the moooornin’… Here I aaaaam!’

-The Night Butterflies

I had a few plans for what this week’s post might be about but at the moment I can’t think of anything apart from the fact that one of my favourite friends has died suddenly in a car crash. So today would either bring a post my heart wouldn’t be in; no post at all; or a post letting you know and inviting you to mourn as well the loss of someone who is going to be so, so missed. 

I don’t want to spend this post mourning, though. I want to tell you some stories about Kade ‘Shenanigans’ Erasmus and some of the reasons that his life fit perfectly with the philosophy of Right Ink On The Wall – make the right mark. Kade was fun and full of life, full of beans, full of the joys of every season. He’d see the best in every situation, the bright side of every cloud – he was one of the crew I described in my former post about Bella, Breaking Down & Bouncing Back, one of the friends who visited us on holiday a few weeks ago and that strived to make a knockback a highlight rather than a holiday-ruining experience; someone who could help everyone see the hilarious in the disasterous. 

I can’t count the times that Kade’s antics have made me laugh, from running round the beaches together to hearing he’d accidentally drunk paint-stripper and spent Christmas Day in hospital – but he wasn’t just for giggles. I’m going to tell you about the two times he saved me. The first was when I’d moved flat in Manly, Sydney, to a pad not too far away from him. We had the same partners-in-crime, a wee family of four tearing up the Northern beaches, and we’d definitely torn it up the night before and were feeling very fragile. Despite this, though, when I saw the horrific creature lurking on my ceiling, I knew I could call on him. And like a very hungover hero, he came. Now, don’t think I’m exaggerating when I tell you that the Huntsman spider is a terrifying specimen. I don’t care that they’re not poisonous – this one was staring at me. We had a bit of a show-down, where I tried to accomplish all the normal things you want to do in your flat without my eyes leaving his. A friend was on holiday staying with me and on her way back to the pad. ‘Oh it’s fine,’ she said on the phone, ‘I’ll deal with it.’ Which was fine, she wasn’t scared of spiders – until she saw this one! So I called Kade, and he came and he fought said spider until it was safely evicted and we all were saved. Not every guy would trek over just to remove a spider from your house from the depths of hangover, I’m not entirely sure my own boyfriend would have :p 

Story number 2 is maybe a little more serious. When I was alone up the Gold Coast, living in Bella the van and off bread and butter, I was taken in by Kade and his family and looked after. I’d just lost aforementioned boyfriend to Adelaide and was left on the coast to sell this damn van. Kade was like a brother, but not the annoying kind that doesn’t want you around – he’d invite me along even when he was spending quality time with his girlfriend, and we watched a lot of Once Upon A Time. One day there was a lead and someone wanted to buy the van. They’d bring cash they said, I just needed to meet them in a servo (petrol/gas station) on the way to Brisbane and if everything looked alright, it was a done deal. By this point, I was pretty desperate. I couldn’t leave the country until I sold the van but funds were beyond dwindling, in part due to the van, so I needed to get to the next country asap to get a job. I spoke to the guy on the phone and he seemed sweet, he gave me directions to the servo. He even said if he took the van, he’d drive me home and go back to the servo for it later. It was getting dark though, so Kade insisted on coming with me. We started the trek to Brisbane and oh how Bella acted out, but we made it and found the guy. He’d parked his truck nowhere near the servo. He was round the back, away from the lights, parked in the corner hidden from the CCTV camera. He was pretty angry when he saw Kade. ‘Why have you brought him?’ Kade shook his hand and looked him in the (crazy) eye. He demanded to know who was actually selling the van and I confirmed that it was me, but that I’d brought my flatmate along. He said well he wouldn’t be able to give both of us a lift back (I looked through the window of his truck – there was more than enough room). Nothing like the man I’d spoken to on the phone, he then muttered under his breath, refused to make eye contact with either of us and spent less than two seconds looking at the van before saying no to the sale and driving off. He then called and had a go at me for bringing a friend, saying it had put him off the whole deal. I then had another 10 missed calls, which I didn’t answer, thanks so much, because by then I was pretty ecstatic that I had brought someone along. We were both a bit shaken and stirred, but after taking a moment, we headed back to base in Bella and I thanked Kade a million times over for coming along! He was equally glad that he had. 

Kade was a friend, a protector and someone I’m lucky to have met. He spoke a harsh word to me once in the whole time I knew him, and he text to apologise less than 10 minutes later. He was a big softy, who loved his family, loved his friends, and loved his dogs. He was full of fire and fun and if I’ve learnt anything from him, it’s to live in and for and enjoy the moment. I’m so glad he came over so that we could have some frolics before he left us for good. I’m just sorry that I couldn’t save him and return the favour. 

So, in terms of asking you something, I just ask you all for a little perspective. I’d lost it last month, which I dubbed Black October. How laughable. No one died in October. I had work stresses and moving stresses and all the little peskinesses that can join together and drag you down. But looking back now, I can see them for what they are – petty problems. Take a moment for the people you love; send a message to someone you’ve not had time to speak to; listen to someone who’s trying to reach you. Enjoy the moments you have with the people you love – you really can’t predict when you might lose them. And live life like Kade Erasmus – for the moment and for each other. 

The Pain Of Packing & The Two Sides To Every Story


‘Every truth has two sides; it is as well to look at both, 

before we commit ourselves to either.’

– Aesop

Step into my study! It’s small but, then, so am I… And it’s perfectly proportioned. To my left is a NZ-centric map of the world (perfect distraction) underscored by a choice selection of cards from friends full of stories and good feeling (perfect procrastination).

I am finally, as of tomorrow, free of my old flat. I mentioned before that I had moved to my dream pad – a fairytale cottage in the woods. The overlap has been pesky and the move has not been without some warfare. I hate packing. And I hate that in every place I’ve called home, it’s not been mine. I’ve rented but not owned. And so I’ve always had to justify myself in some way before, during or after my tenancy.

In my previous flat, the estate agents claim that something is broken that wasn’t (to my knowledge) in any disrepair before I vacated the property. Further, the carpets (which I’ve had professionally cleaned) bear some wear. In vain have I pointed out that the carpets were not exactly squeaky clean or free of wear when I took the place on.  Meanwhile, I’ve had to move a couple of old, disused television sets over to my new port of call, in the dark, in the torrential rain, because the local Salvation Army aren’t accepting second-hand televisions and, hence, I need to take them to the tip. Being 5 foot nothing (that’s 152cm to you metric folk!) and 8 stone (50kg), with the upper body strength of a small penguin, I need help to achieve this. And partner in crime is working away this week. I rolled the sets out of my car (with help from a friend) to the side of my drive (past my gate). At the top of my drive, admittedly by the road, lay an old rowing boat on a faulty trailer that we acquired to fix up and had to bring over from the ex-home. I couldn’t safely move this out the way without assistance (anyone who has seen me parallel park would back this up).

Within 12 hours of television sets being left overnight on my own drive, I have had neighbours complain about them and a call from my new estate agents. They also mentioned the boat. And threw in an accusation of subletting because friends visiting us were spotted in my new home (looking too at home?! If so, I’m glad). It was also noted that we entered the garage that we weren’t supposed to. This was in order to desperately find some jump leads to start a vehicle that should have been on its way to work on a 4 hour journey already.

Aaaahh but this is where I need to remind myself that there are two sides to every story. Hopefully, you’re on my side so far. The calls from the estate agents today put more nails in an already painful week of packing and moving and cleaning, which would already have been unmanageable without my friends. It’s difficult to take with equanimity a suggestion that you haven’t taken care of a place, when you’ve spent the last however long doing your best to do just that. And it’s equally difficult not to be hurt that your new neighbours choose to think the worst of you and tell tales, rather than ask the reason why a situation they have observed is the way it is. I mean, heaven forbid they could even offer assistance where it would be welcome!

And yet, from the other point of view, I could be another in a long line of tenants who have taken liberties at someone else’s expense. I could be someone who’s broken into a new neighbourhood and started scuffing it up without a care in the world or any respect for my neighbours.

Rather than stewing over the fact that I am not either of these people, I need to take on the lesson and learn not to judge. I clearly have no appetite for being judged myself! I need to appreciate the other side of the story in all of the stories that happen. Hopefully, this will also help me write a better story than the ones that are overly one-sided. How about you? Has anyone had a run-in with a real estate or landlord, but there was a reasonable explanation?! Is one-sidedness your foe, too? 

What’s In A Name?

Mene Mene

‘What’s in a name?’

– Shakespeare

When it comes to naming a book or a business, it’s an important step. You want something that represents the being of what is to be presented to the world. I thought I’d share this week the history of the naming of Right Ink On The Wall – partly because naming is storytelling in itself, and partly because the name has meaning to me. I’d like it to have meaning for you, too.

I wanted something that was punchy and played with words. Words and writing are so visually engaging – I could see inkwells and quills, pens and paper, books and shelves, typewriters and blotters, scribes and scripture, stone and chisels… graffiti and walls. I wanted to be a wordsmith, to tinker with words and their meanings, their spellings, their etymology. From the above, I bet you can guess many of the names that I searched, finding many taken. None of them were quite right anyway. They didn’t write well. And there it was, the writing on the wall. Suddenly, a whole host of wall imagery appeared – familiar walls and famous walls. And I thought about what walls can mean.

Walls can divide but they can also protect. Walls can be built but they can also be broken down. You can sit on one side of a wall or the other. You can hit a wall. You can overcome a wall. They can be associated with writer’s block and building blocks. They can be used for good or evil. And the best walls have strong foundations.

‘The writing on the wall’ is a tragic phrase whose history lies in scripture (Daniel 5). It’s a moral tale in which God plays with words, which are written on a wall by a disembodied hand. The sinful king, Belshazzar, has Daniel provide meaning where his wise men can only offer translation. The words are not a warning – they are a judgement. God has numbered the days of Belshazzar’s reign. He has been weighed on the scales and been found wanting. His kingdom will be divided.

I’d like to reclaim ‘the writing on the wall’ and create a shared understanding of my version, or vision, of The Wall. To me, The Wall is the infinite space where anything that has ever been written is recorded. It’s like the library of the world, or the facade of the world. And I want to invoke a feeling that The Wall is permanent. I suppose it’s a personification of history. The Wall is where you make your mark on the world and you want it to be right, as marks on The Wall, whether words or actions, go down in posterity.

The foundations of Right Ink On The Wall are not just about making the mark you write on the wall accurate but also leaving the right mark on the world. And encouraging people (much like myself not so long ago) who haven’t had the self-belief to act yet or make any mark at all, to actually make a move to write ink on the wall of the world, by whatever means. This message and mission can hark back to the implications of the doom-laden origins of ‘the writing on the wall’ and it recalls Steve Job’s third story in his Stamford address, in which he comments, ‘Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life.’ Yes, life is transient, we are temporary beings, i.e. life is short. So, we have the chance to pass out of the world with a whisper or to leave our mark on The Wall for others to read. And if we want to stamp ourselves on the world before we go, hopefully we want our mark to be morally good – leaving the right sort of ink on The Wall.

There is a fascinating history to the power of naming. It crops up time and again, from sacred texts to fairy tales. Why does Rumpelstiltskin’s name have such power? Why does Voldemort’s? There is consideration of the concept of ‘true names’ in philosophy, folklore and fantasy.  A true name is considered powerful in that it expresses the true nature of a being. I hope that my name expresses the true nature of my business.

When it comes to business and branding and successful names, how have ‘Google’, ‘Skype’ and ‘Apple’ become so catchy? How have ‘Virgin’ and ‘Amazon’? There can be power in the naming of things, but I believe there is more power in the substance of things. The names that become important are not necessarily the ones we are bombarded with, through as much advertising as possible. Perhaps this works for some household names, but the names that have the most power are the names that have the most meaning, that are connected with ideas that connect with people.

So, the question isn’t: what’s your name? But, rather: who are you? As Shakespeare’s Juliet wonders, ‘What’s in a name?’