Tears of Ink – The Inspiration Behind the Name

Tears of ink, art by thewiseninja
Tears of ink, art by thewiseninja

Why Tears of Ink? Several people have said to me, “Cool name for a blog! How did you come up with that?”

Well, I’d love to say I was the mastermind behind the phrase, but I’m not. Yet it embodies everything I think about when writing so simply that it made perfect sense.

When I was creating the website and looking for a name for my blog, I knew immediately that I wanted to base the look and feel off of a particular piece of artwork that I absolutely adore: “Tears of Ink”, by thewiseninja. That’s the lovely piece on the left; you can also check out the digital artwork in its full glory on the artist’s Deviant Art site…which he needs to update, but that’s another story. (I’m allowed to harass him a little since he knows how talented I think he is. And he was very kind to give me permission to use his artwork – thanks, Ben!)

Pain…it dries…blows away in the wind….but the stains are left behind forever

That was the artist’s original tagline for this work–poetic guy, right? Very apropos, too. Having seen the print in person, there’s a depth of emotion, of reminiscing, and back-story evoked in this art that can’t be ignored. As you stare at the girl, crying her tears (with a blotch near the eye that looks like an actual ink blot), feathers floating away from her costume on a ghostly breeze, you start to wonder: who is she? Where does she come from? Why so sad? Compelling and complicated. And stunning, even if you aren’t quite sure what you’re seeing.

Sometimes I see a girl reminiscent of 1920s flappers. Don’t ask me why. I just do. Maybe it’s the hair. Other times, I see elements from Japanese artwork, especially in the patterned, faded parchment look to the background and the golden tones. Depends on the day. (I’m an art history nerd at heart, so I can happily spend hours looking at art and finding hidden meaning. In fact, I almost thought about pursuing a career as a professor of art history…methinks there’s a future post in that.)

Anyway, Tears of Ink is a concept that I see at the core of what I like most about writing. I’m creating these characters and telling stories that reveal layers about our emotions, our reactions, why we do the things we do. I want to create living, breathing individuals who whisper of back story–lived memories that they carry with them, whether it’s a stain on the heart or a tattoo of joy. When I shove my characters into the hottest fire or the darkest night, how they react leaves a mark on them. And maybe also on the reader.

For me, characters are extremely important. I love building beautiful worlds, be it an alternate universe that mirrors today or a fantastical world filled with mythical creatures, but I find the characters who live and breathe in those worlds the most fascinating part to write. Do they laugh when things are most grim? Do they rise to the occasion as the hero and persevere against all odds, or do they become the villain, twisted by pain and loss?

I want to rend every last bit out, convey that simply in my words, and let the reader enjoy the tears of ink spilled from my pen.

That’s my inspiration from this lovely work. What about you?

5 Replies to “Tears of Ink – The Inspiration Behind the Name”

  1. Funny thing about characters…they run away with the plot. I know there are times I’ve written things in a draft and then when I go back over them it’s like the characters are looking over my shoulders going “Yeah….no. I’m going THIS way.” And then I chase after them and it seems to end up better than I’d anticipated. Moral of the story? Listen to the characters.

  2. Nice post, Elaine. I think your blog name has a greater pithy factor than mine, but I still like mine, too, so that’s okay.

    I agree that character-driven fiction is the most compelling, at least for me, but it ups the literary ante. A clever plot is something you can admire even if you don’t care for the story, but it’s hard to like the novel if you can’t stand the main character. (Are you listening, Holden Caulfield?)

    Still, in the end, all we can do is write the kind of books we love. And maybe, enough other people will like them, too. In your case, I think that will be quite likely. 🙂

    • As you should like your blog name–there’s simplicity in “The Beauty of Words.”

      I do love clever plots, but personally, I find I remember the characters more. And I go back to reread books time and again because I want to revisit those characters, like old friends. (That’s my excuse for re-reading VILLETTE at least once every year.)

      Appreciate the kind words, and “huzzah!” to writing the kind of books we love.

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