I’m trying to think of a word that isn’t revamp or makeover; words which strike gloom into the boots of every reader; anyway, whatever you want to call it, this blog is having one. We’ve got a different theme called Penscratch and I’ve renamed it Sarada Gray to reflect the changing emphasis since I no longer write about yoga. Now, I don’t expect you to get excited about this since this blog is about content not packaging; and I promise above all not to subject you to any surveys. Surely everyone must be sick of surveys? Every time I go on a website or fill out a form I’m asked to rate my experience: I swear to God that when I die I expect St Peter to be up there holding out a clipboard and a pen. Please rate your life experience under the following categories…. Yeah, yeah, I appreciate that people are just trying to do a good job (or look as if they are) but there must be better ways of doing it than the infernal tick-box.
But I digress. Sarada Gray, in case you didn’t know, is my pen-name. If you don’t know where the name comes from and can’t be bothered to click on the link above, it happened like this. In 1992 I was on a yoga retreat in Avila, coldest place on earth, at a convent in the mountains above Madrid. The convent was basically a set of corridors open to the elements and the heating came on for half an hour a day, between 3 and 3.30 pm when I was usually taking a nap. We got up at some ungodly hour to do meditation and at the start of the whole shebang we were invited to choose a ‘nombre espiritual’ – a spiritual name by which we would be known on the retreat. This name should embody qualities which we wished to develop in ourselves.
I think it was that which inspired me more than anything in yoga – if you want to achieve something you should act as if you’re already there. So I asked myself, where do I want to be? The answer was of course, to be a writer, so I searched lists of gods and goddesses for suitable names and came up with Sarada. Aka Saraswati, she is the goddess of creativity and wisdom (good combination) and is usually shown playing a veena, something like a sitar:
Image removed on request
But believe it or not, it was years before I thought of using it as a pen-name. For ages I played around with variations on my own name – Liza, Lisa, Beth… I knew I wanted to keep Gray but none of the variations seemed quite right; and then I had an epiphany. Of course! Use Sarada! So there it is. No-one else has a name like it; it has history and relevance and it sounds good.
So from now on this blog will be called Sarada Gray and soon it will have a new banner, courtesy of my talented son.
Now, on a scale of one to ten, how would you rate your experience of reading this post?