When I published my 1,000th post, I wrote a list of things that I’d learned. What was true then is even more true now. When I started writing in 2008, I could have put names into categories – good and bad, wearable and not. Now I think that’s a much harder line to draw, and almost always difficult for an outsider to determine.
I’m definitely much more tolerant than I was before.
So for this milestone, I’m composing a list of three things that I love in names. In some cases, I’ve used these qualities for my children’s names. But they’re more things that I love to stumble on in birth announcements or overhear on a playground, like a birdwatcher has a favorite creature to spot in the wild.
- Quirky and meaningful middles - Especially with a more conventional, or classic first. Pairings like Alice Zenobia. Julian Fuego. I hesitate when I hear Danger, mostly because it feels more like a punchline than a middle name. But there are some daring, fierce alternatives that work.
- Alliteration - On my dad’s side, we have kids with the initials E.E., A.A., R.R., and C.C. My sister broke the pattern, but it was fun while it lasted – even if I was the only one to notice. I’m Amy Abigail, and my kids are Alexander Arthur and Claire Caroline Wren. I think any future children would have to have repeating initials, too.
- Names with great stories, whether they are conventional or offbeat. Like the Novogratz family. Or the stories on the Name Stories page here at AppMtn. Or even Jessica Simpson’s choices. She’s gotten a lot of flack for the names she’s given her kiddos, but they’re rich with family significance, and I was pleasantly surprised to realize that Ace wasn’t really as novel as he seemed.
Above all, I’ve come to appreciate how writing about a name can make me more open to it as a possibility. Some choices – like Nevaeh – remain not my style. But there’s almost always something to enjoy about any name, no matter how rare or recent a coinage.
So, with a special thanks to all of you for sticking around for 2,000 posts, I’d love to know this: What qualities make you appreciate a name?