My name is Stephanie Quanel, and I am the founder and creator of MeiroKodo.
How Did MeiroKodo Start?
I've actually had the idea for a puzzlebook like this since I was a little girl.
I remember when I was about 7 or so, my mother used to draw mazes for me, and I think after awhile I started to annoy her because I was always asking for them. I loved them! She finally said to me one day, "Honey, why don't YOU try and draw them?" My eyes went wide ... because I hadn't thought of that. And so ever since then I've been drawing them myself!
When it comes to codes and secret messages and stuff, well, I've always loved that too. I used to make up my own codes when I was a kid, and write down notes to myself and use them to write in my diary. No locking diary needed for me! I had a special code!
Eventually as I grew into my teens, that was when I had the idea of combining these two things into one puzzle concept. Thing is, I could never find books like this. So finally I just decided to just create them myself.
Where did you come up with the name?
Initially I had a really hard time with that! I had no clue what to call this idea I've had - this concept.
Every cool and clever name I could think of was taken. I would google things like "maze craze" or "crave the maze" .... whatever! I tried everything. And EVERYTHING I could think of was being used.
So out of desperation I decided to go to other languages.
Did you know that in pretty much EVERY SINGLE language in the entire world the word "maze" is synonymous with the word "labyrinth?" I was panicking and getting pretty depressed as I was researching this, because a maze and a labyrinth aren't exactly the same thing.
(I talk about this in my blog... CLICK HERE to learn more.)
The only other language I could find (besides English) that had its own word for "maze" was Japanese. In Japanese the word "maze" is MEIRO, and the word "code" is KODO.
And there you have it!
Why Do You Use A Thumbprint For MeiroKodo's Online Profile Picture?
That's a great question! There's a personal story behind this:
Not too long ago, for about 10years I suffered from this really severe eczema on my hands, and to a lesser degree even today, I still do.
Back when it was at its worst, It was very painful, it made my day-to-day life difficult (and at times unbearable), and it was damaging to my skin. Even now I still don't have any more fingerprints. They've actually all but disappeared.
Now, because each of the mazes in MeiroKodo are so unique in their design, they're much like our own fingerprints are in this respect - each one is original and different.
So for the online presence that MeiroKodo has, the avatar I use is a fingerprint. For me, it's in this way that I've been able to get my fingerprints back - so to speak.
OK - so everything about MeiroKodo is art - from start to finish - and this includes the messages.
Poetry is known as word art, and the messages in my MeiroKodo books are actually poems that I write.
Ever since I was in my teens, I've been writing poetry. I've had some of my earlier works published in poetry books and newspapers, and I've even won contests with some of them, but all that was a very long time ago.
For quite a few years I had stopped writing. Life just somehow seemed to keep me too busy, as I think it does with pretty much most of us.
Anyway, when I decided to develop MeiroKodo, it brought back the motivation for me to start writing again. The mazes and the codes are unique, and the concept of these two things together is definitely original, but I felt like it was important that the messages be something special too.
The poems in the children's books are mostly short, fun-type stories, and for the adult books, they're more positive- and encouraging-type messages.
What Are The Messages In MeiroKodo About?
Oh my goodness! Where to start? There are so many words to describe this... this... ADVENTURE ... so far!
I would say:
fun - exhausting - thrilling - scary - challenging - interesting - a total learning experience - surprising - motivating - difficult - gratifying - uplifting
.... just to begin with!
You know, in the very very VERY beginning I had kept myself completely detached from MeiroKodo. I didn't name myself in any way to it on social media, on this website, or even in the books.
The reason is because I was afraid that if it failed - if nobody liked this idea - if nobody liked this concept I've created - then by being anonymous to it, then no one would know that ** I ** had failed, right? That way I wouldn't have to be embarrassed publicly, and neither would anyone who knew me.
Putting yourself "out there" can really be a scary thing no matter who you are, where you're from, or how old you are. But I realize now I shouldn't have been afraid like that - even if nobody really had liked my idea for this.
The genuinely important thing here - the real truth - is that everyone has something unique to share - everyone - and no one should be underestimated or disregarded for it. I think more often than not we tend to do that to each other, but mostly to ourselves, and it's not the way we should think.
You know it's one thing to know something, but entirely another when you learn what you think you know. I've learned a lot of things on my journey with MeiroKodo, but this would have to be the best lesson so far, and I'm grateful for it.