Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Naming
All the people I know have taken great care when they were naming their children. Some have named a child after a member of the family, or some give a name because it sounds good to them – the poetry of it. When the newspaper gives a list of the most commonly used names of the past year, I see that out of nowhere a popular name has arisen. I didn’t know a single Jacob when I was young. Now the name is widely used. A baby’s first word is most often the name of his parent: mama, papa. I agonize over titles for my novels because it is the first hint a prospective reader will have of what is inside. I think the title of my first novel, Flora, Write This Down, was my most successful. The title of my fifth, last novel is too long. In the book of Genesis, God brought each beast and fowl to Adam to name, Adam’s first action. “And whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof.”

1 comment:

Dr. Y. Trainer said...

Ah yes, we writer-types never seem to lose our fascination for naming. Henry James was given to lists of names; Timothy Findley's Pilgrim in his novel Pilgrim lists almost seven pages of names in search for the name of his cousin. In my own lifetime, Ihave had a nickname as a child, the use of my first name in school and university, the use of my first and last name as a poet, and most recently my title as a first name, my first name as a middle initial and my last name as it has always stood; yet, many of my friends, colleagues and so on detest that I go by my title. Still, people, mainly women, change their names all the time--Susan becomes Sue, Patricia becomes Trish. Women marry and take their husbands' names, or add their last names to their husbands', or choose to use their middle names rather than their first and no one tells them that's vanity. How strange. I think we should declare one day a year as name day and let every person rename him or herself for a year, with five, ten, fifteen, and lifetime renewals allowed.

By the way, I've known you for 25 years and never knew that you were named after a poet.

Thanks for the great blog.
Looking forward to the name (title) of your next blog entry.