I have always felt a strange sense of responsibility regarding the naming of a life. I have long felt that a name can have so much to do–for good or ill–in the formation of a life.
My dad used to tell us about ways that children made fun of his name when he was a child. I also remember that my brother’s name was one that was used jokingly. Thankfully, my name’s pronunciation was difficult enough to say, much less make fun of, which I’m sure saved me some sort of embarrassment in one way while creating it in another. Oh, well.
Still, as we brought each of our children into this world, I felt a powerful need to create a strong force around them with regard to their names. I wonder if I have taught them enough about the reasons and feelings around the names they have been given. I wanted them to each have powerful and purposeful names and to know the meaning of their names…but, like all lessons in life, I’m sure this one’s presence in their minds waxes and wanes like the phases of the moon.
Similarly, when I write, I find myself struggling again to name a character…to summon the forces of nature and writing to again create a life. Sometimes I find myself, though I am past searching for names of lives that will come from my own womb, pouring over baby name books, searching for the name to fit the character I see in my mind’s eye. I still feel a sense of ownership with these characters, who in some way become real to me, just as Jane Eyre, Clare Abshire, and Anastasia Steele are real to so many (I recognize that these women are oddly grouped…sorry). I was also reminded this weekend as my husband and I attended the latest film from a franchise older than I am what is in a name…the faces may have changed several times over the years, but when a British accent speaks the name, “Bond…James Bond,” people listen. His name has a power.
So, do you know why your name is what it is?
Did you ever want to change it?
And what have you done with your name to make it yours?