Some weekends I sit down to write about baby names and nothing feels more right.
And some weeks I sit down to write about names when the news of the world around us feels overwhelming. How can I write about something as frivolous as unusual color names or bird names when the soundtrack is anger and despair?
I happened to be watching the news when stories from Paris started to break. And it was absolutely one of those moments of overwhelm, when I couldn’t look away, but I couldn’t bear to watch, either.
And yet I am going to write about baby names, today and tomorrow and the day after that. Because there’s no doubt in my mind that names matter, and that the act of bestowing a child’s name is sacred. And because if you want to experience unadulterated hope and joy, thinking about new life is one of the best ways to do so.
To write about names is to celebrate the potential of every new person on this planet. It’s a simple perspective, perhaps, but I do believe that the act of naming is always an optimistic one.
And so, in the midst of news that feels bleak and hard, let’s talk about names, in all of their beauty and complexity:
- I’m already fixing my name for you, meet me halfway. Powerful. Thanks to Clare for the link.
- Because, well, that’s one way to kick off a trend. Nancy points out that writing about your child’s unusual name can be an invitation for others to embrace it. (We talked about the name – Mamie, short for Mary Cecilia – when the original article came out.) This seems obvious to me and likely to you, but I do think that others miss it. That fleeting conversation with a college roommate when you mention your ten favorite, carefully curated baby names might not stick with your roomie – but one of those names might.
- Is Fox Terry a crazy name? I didn’t make either of the associations the Name Lady pointed out – fox terriers or Terry Fox. But I can imagine that many people would.
- A Utah couple named their son Fox. He was born on November 13th, which, presumably, is why local network Fox 13 is so tickled by the name. A future newscaster, maybe?
- Speaking of Fox, it’s on my list of Names to Most Definitely Watch in 2016. I’ll be sharing that in December. Another biggie on that list? Marlowe.
- Rock solid advice for novelists from the Dictionary of Medieval Names from European Sources, including this gem: “no historical novel would be complete without a man named John.”
- Excellent names to borrow from Renaissance artists, though the high degree of overlap with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles always gives me pause.
- Is Luther ready for a comeback?
- Ack! Another story about unique baby names that are actually pretty darn common. (Looking at you, Cassandra, Amelia, Arthur, and Theodore.) Except there are some intriguing rarities on the list, too, including Season, given to just six girls in 2014, and Cassian, given to a mere 19 boys.
- Space Ranger baby names from 1954! Fascinated by these, especially Cleolanta/Cleolanthe, Link, Altasande, Rocky, and Moanna. Moana is the name of the newest Disney princess, in a movie expected to release in 2016.
- What a great discussion of Buffy over at Sancta Nomina – and ohmygoodness, what a fascinating piece of Star Wars trivia!
- So I don’t know if Australian businessman Justin Hemmes named his daughter after his company. It sounds more like he named his company and his daughter after his mother, Merivale Hemmes. And if I had such a downright fabulous name on my family tree? I’d definitely name everything that I was able to name Merivale, too.
- Isn’t March a great middle name possibility? A little bit action verb name, a little bit calendar girl, though I think it’s truly unisex.
- Friendliness is a powerful social force that’s undervalued in the baby naming process. Nicely said! And something interesting to think about.
That’s all for this week! As always, thank you for reading – and have a great week!
Please share your 2016 names on the rise earlier as I’m due Dec 8th!! Pretty please.
I agree – writing about names, thinking about new life and the possibilities it holds are a perfect antidote in a world full of sadness and grief just now.
The 1st article reminded me of meeting someone who’s name I’d only seen written down. I had the sounds right when I met her in person but not the stress. The minute she introduced myself I could tell I had it wrong so I asked her to repeat it so I could say it correctly from then on. It’s a sign of simple, basic respect to do your very best to pronounce someone’s name correctly and in the form they’d like you to use.
She introduced HERSELF 🙂
Emily Cardoza says
Thank you for this, Abby! It’s been an overwhelming week. Words are powerful, and names can be some of the most powerful words we use.
Yes yes yes, I 1000% agree with your intro, all of it. I too have “no doubt in my mind that names matter, and that the act of bestowing a child’s name is sacred. And because if you want to experience unadulterated hope and joy, thinking about new life is one of the best ways to do so. … To write about names is to celebrate the potential of every new person on this planet. It’s a simple perspective, perhaps, but I do believe that the act of naming is always an optimistic one.” Beautiful words for sad times Abby. <3