by Rita Goldner
Since I’m assigned the New Year’s Day blog, I did some research on my fellow harbinger, the god Janus. For ancient Romans, he was the god of doorways or gates, so he was given the role of Guardian of Exits and Entrances. His worshipers figured that since you had to go through a gate to get to a new place, they would also call him the God of Beginnings, and name the first month after him. Their word Januarius came from the Etruscan word juana which means “door.”
He’s usually shown with two faces, a young one looking forward and an old bearded one looking back, a very appropriate pose for New Year’s Day, and for his namesake month. After looking further into his background mythology and pictures, I realized that for a group of authors like my blogger buddies, Janus is our guy! His story and persona are full of analogies for our writers’ marketing group, Phoenix Publishing and Book Marketing. We’re all looking back over our shoulder at the past year of triumphs: the festival and fair sales, blog challenges, author events, knowledgeable guest speakers at our Meetups, and the information-packed Facebook posts, daily blogs, and networking. That being said, our backward face has some grey hairs in our collective beard. They come from the obstacles we’ve faced and hurtled over in our quest to finish, publish, and market our books. We’re all looking forward with young and optimistic eyes to a new year of launch parties, book signings, and virtual tours.
Janus is usually shown with a key in his hand for the symbolic door. I took the liberty of drawing books in his hands instead, and was self-serving enough to make one of them mine, Orangutan: A Day in the Rainforest Canopy. Some scholars of ancient Roman history and/or mythology say that Janus was the first god invoked in any ceremony, that he was one of the most highly regarded gods, with several temples, and that he represented the transition between the primitive and civilization. That’s another analogy I like, since books really fit the bill as a symbol of advancement in learning.
Janus was a mortal who was deified after death. While he was mortal, the First King of Latium, he introduced peace, honesty in government, cultivation of fields, use of money and laws. His era on earth was known as The Golden Age. All of his sophisticated concepts heralded the growth of education as the foundation of a successful civilization. As authors, we’re carrying this same torch forward.
Toward this end, I’m thrilled that the founder/director of Orang Utan Republik Foundation wants to distribute my book to Indonesian children, and has asked permission to have it translated to their native language. Hopefully new gates will open in the coming year.
Rita Goldner is the author and illustrator of the children’s picture book, Orangutan: A Day in the Rainforest Canopy. Rita has also written and illustrated two eBooks, Jackson’s History Adventure and Jackson’s Aviation Adventure, in the Jackson’s Adventure series. For orangutan facts and images and to purchase the book, visit OrangutanDay.com. To view additional illustrations and other books in progress, visit Rita’s website. Contact Rita here. Follow Rita on Facebook.