Word Wednesday: Heritage vs. Lineage

Learning new words and being able to find the word that means exactly what the story needs can mean the difference between a mediocre story and a brilliant one.

On Wednesdays we will identify an unusual word, provide its definition, and discuss its application or its impact.

Time for another Word Wednesday!

Today I’m doing my civic duty—jury duty, to be exact. I look forward to sharing my adventures soon.

The words we’re reviewing today became a point of contention while I was writing “Redeeming the Demon’s Daughter.”

I chose to use “heritage” twice, and my husband questioned whether it was the right word in each case.

Here are the two original sentences:

  1. “My heritage did not help me either, for I was the daughter of Ravana, the demon who kidnapped their beloved king’s wife.”

  2. “Macchanu could not doubt the evidence of his own eyes, for Maiyarab taught him his heritage, taught him to worship and trust in gods.”

After consulting my handy-dandy dictionary and deciding what made more sense, I changed the first sentence to use “lineage” but kept the second sentence as it was.

So what’s the difference?

Heritage:

  1. Something handed down from the past, as a tradition

  2. Something that comes or belongs to one by reason of birth; an inheritance

  3. Something reserved for one

There’s another specific definition used in Law, but I won’t pretend to instruct about the application of a legal term.

Lineage:

  1. Lineal descent from an ancestor; ancestry or extraction

  2. the line of descendants of a particular ancestor; family

Why did I change Sentence 1?

In the first sentence, Suvi is specifically referring to her father and to her ancestry as a demon. While I also meant her cultural background as a mermaid and a demon, the real meaning I want to convey hinges on her bloodline. So given these definitions, “lineage” describes it better.

Final sentence:

“My lineage did not help me either, for I was the daughter of Ravana, the demon who kidnapped their beloved king’s wife.”

Why didn’t I change Sentence 2?

In this case, Suvi is describing not just her son Macchanu’s parentage, but—more importantly—the cultural and religious aspects of his society and his role in it or obligations to it. So lineage would have changed the meaning of what I was trying to say.

Final sentence:

“Macchanu could not doubt the evidence of his own eyes, for Maiyarab taught him his heritage, taught him to worship and trust in gods.”

Mother’s Day Musings

There’s lots of trite ways to start a blog post about Mother’s Day, and I tried a number of them before starting fresh.

So, from the heart, here’s what I’ve got:

I always wanted to be a mom. Some girls just know.

So, after a unique journey, when my first munchkin showed up, one of the deepest wishes of my heart was fulfilled. A couple years later, another one entered my life a little more dramatically and promptly wrapped me around a very dear little finger.

Mother's Day Musings

And I know that I’m blessed. Some mothers don’t have the experience that I do. Some don’t look at Mother’s Day as a day to celebrate. My heart goes out to you as you’re inundated with pictures of smiling families at brunch with flowers.

While I’m still in the throes of tantrums, diapers, and sleeplessness, I parent but haven’t faced any of the big challenges of older children.

My older one has developed empathy, making her a lot more fun to be around, and wants to do stuff that I want to do, like bake stuff and draw pictures. The little one also likes to do one of my favorite things. Hint: it rhymes with “Need Hooks.” He’ll raid the shelves for several volumes that he’ll bring to me in the kitchen or whatever other place is wet or sticky and insist I drop what I’m doing and answer this human need to hear a story.

How has being a mother changed me? Well, there are some obvious things, like jiggly bits, including the bags under my eyes, but there are other, deeper changes too. And I’m not talking about the fundamental altering of my DNA (it’s a thing!) that now includes some of my children’s DNA mixed with mine.

You may have heard your parents say “you’ll understand when you’re a parent.” And I didn’t discount those words. But their reality is much greater.

I truly believe that the depth of emotion I experienced—and hopefully expressed—writing “Redeeming the Demon’s Daughter” (without spoilers I refer to the opening scene of Suvi with her son) would have been impossible for me prior to becoming a mother.

I have a vivid imagination, but, like any writer, I still have to draw from my experience and emotion to write a believable character. The love a parent has for a child is different than any other kind of love. It’s not the same love you have for a spouse or a parent. And I had to experience that love to be able to write about it.

So even though Suvi and I could scarcely be more different and she made choices and sacrifices I can’t even begin to imagine, her story called to me from the beginning because of our shared experience as mothers.

And so to all the mothers out there—past, present, and future—we share a bond that I acknowledge this Mother’s Day.

Previous Posts:

A Little Honesty for Mother’s Day

First Mother’s Day