Wild Moon Swings

Tuesday, May 22, 2007


Hi kids,

I thought I'd just write a quite post to let you all know that I'm not dead - I'm just sick. Horribly, horribly sick. Just for kicks and giggles I was reading something published in the 20s about the first symptoms of smallpox ... and I've got them all. HA! Naturally, you don't have smallpox until you get the sores, but MERCY! Anyway - I don't have smallpox, but I'm fetching ill and I'm really getting fed up with it.

Until later.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

What's in a Name?

Have any of you ever read 'Anne of Green Gables'? Well, I haven't. I love L.M. Montgomery's work, but for some reason Anne is so sticky sweet that I can't stand her. However whenever I think on the subject of naming another human being, I remember how Anne wants to be called Cordillia instead of Anne. She thinks 'Anne' is a boring name and wants to be called something that has a little romance to it.

Personally, I remember being a child and thinking about what I would like to called rather than my given name and in the end, I could never think of anything I liked so much better than my real name to warrant making a fuss over it. In my teens, I remember thinking of all the fun things I would like to name my children (when I got some), but luckily I seem to have named enough characters in my stories to make naming a child something I already named a character sort of redundant. One time I was taking down someone's name and number at work and I asked this woman her first name and she answered that her name was Starra. I smiled and told her that I named a character in one of my books Starra. She laughed and told me that she had named herself that. Apparently, she changed her name to Starra ... yeah ... there are no words. To be honest, I can imagine a parent being romantic enough to name their little girl Starra, but I can't imagine being a grown woman and still being fanciful enough to actually change your own name to something like that. She wasn't even the lady we had in occasionally who read Tarot cards for a living - imagine that.

My final conclusion (after much more thought than I can explain here) is that naming another human being is a GIGANTIC BURDEN. Do you know how many people I have met who hate their names? Give a child a common name and they hate you because they feel like they have no identity. Give a child an unusual name because you want them to know how special you think they are and they still hate you because no one can pronounce it. I know a guy who hates his name, but that didn't stop him from naming his oldest son after himself - go figure. Yeah, well, I've been reading and studying this subject for some time and I think having to name your own kid is a task worse than death. Here are some of the things that I have learned while on my quest to figure out how important a person's name really is.

If you give your child a common name they will score higher on tests (apparently teachers are bias enough to unconsciously grade a child with a common name higher than a child with an unusual one), your child will fit in better socially (I assume this is because no one suffers a moment of indecision before calling out to them - especially if your child is named something like 'Matt'), your child will be more likely to get a good job (because the employer isn't scared of mispronouncing their name when they phone to invite them for an interview), and then of course there is always the joy of not having to spell your name every single time someone asks you what your name is. So, contrary-wise, a person with an unusual name will have slight problems in all of these areas. I assume that the measure of trouble is in direct relation to the uniqueness of the name.

Another thing I've learned that is quite interesting is that the most popular name lists are ... BOGUS. Why is that - do you think? As an example: one of the most popular names for boys right now is Daniel. You won't find the name Nicolas on the top ten chart. HOWEVER - there are a zillion different ways to spell Nicolas and very few variants on Daniel. If you look at actual statistics of how many children were named what - you will see that all the different variants of Nicolas grouped together combine to make a number high enough to compete with Daniel on the charts, but technically - no. So the names on the top ten and top twenty charts are really only a reflection of the most popular names that have the fewest ways to spell them.

What else have I learned? Even though it is a gigantic tradition in lots of parts of the world to name your child after someone close to you - do you know that it's considered a bad idea? People who have done it say that associations change over time, so naming your little girl after your mother or mother-in-law may not be the brightest of ideas. The idea is that basically - you can love someone one minute and then something yicky happens and you've got this forever reminder of this person you can't stand in your house in the form of your beautiful child. Yeah, I didn't think that sounded great either. This rule doesn't just apply to family members or friends either, but applies to trends, phases and anything you may be going through. However, I concede that you might change your mind about anything you name your kid.

After thinking about this at length - it has only made me depressed. It's hard enough to think of something that will please yourself. Imagine having to okay it with another person. Too challenging!