Daily Post Challenge – Power of Names

This is departing from my usual theme to write in response to The Daily Post’s challenge – Power of Names. The original can be found by clicking this link.

I’ve always had something of a fascination with names. I remember as a youngster writing a story about a farm. I combined my love for both animals and names, which resulted in a very mediocre story about a girl who lived on a farm, and each animal was individually named. Needless to say it was name-heavy! However, whenever I do write (increasingly infrequently, it has to be said) I always start with the names of my characters. Without a name I don’t feel that I have a sense of who they are and the path they will follow as the tale progresses.

A name says so much about a person – where they’ve come from, the parents they have – you can often tell from a name or a nickname whether someone even likes their name. Often people will opt to use their middle name if they don’t like their first name, or perhaps shorten it. Maybe they shared their name with their father and needed a way to differentiate? Or were Christened John and called Jack. Children and teens will often experiment with different ways of spelling their name, maybe replacing a ‘y’ with an ‘ie’ or just an ‘i’ alone. Although our names are given to us, how we use them is very individual.

I really like my name and can’t imagine being called anything else. I have 2 middle names that I also like – the first being the feminine derivative of my father’s name and the second being the name of the midwife who cared for my mum and I after I was born. Before they settled on my name I was going to be either Primrose or Demelza, the latter after one of mum’s favourite TV characters from the programme Poldark. As it happens, Poldark looks set to make a come-back in 2015 with Aidan Turner as Poldark himself – you can read about it here. It wouldn’t be surprising to see an increase in the use of names such as Demelza after it airs in 2015.

Growing up my nickname was Tig (after Tigger) since I was particularly active in utero! It was used less frequently as I got older but returned when I was in my teens. It’s only used by my immediate family and one other person, so it feels really personal (though I have no doubt there are plenty of Tigs out there!) My brother and I always used seemingly unrelated nicknames growing up, especially with reference to our parents. I’ve no idea where my mum’s current nickname stemmed from and yet it has become as much a part of her as her name (which, incidentally, she hates!)

To continue on the family theme – when my brother was born my mum wanted to call him Jonah. However, Dad wasn’t too keen and so they settled for an alternative (eventually – he was ‘the baby’ for a long time!) In spite of this, up until the time he went to school, Mum called him Jojo, despite his name beginning with an E! Apparently, at that time the teachers felt it would be better to stick to his actual name to save confusion, which I guess is a fair point! I imagine they were equally confused when I rocked up at school, aged 4 and a half, and called my parents by their christian names. It made sense to me – everyone else did, why couldn’t I? But no, Mum and Dad was what you were meant to call them… Oh right…

I also had a multitude of pets. Our dog (a female) was called Yoda. My succession of rabbits, ranging from a pale grey terror called Thumper to a placid bunny named Mopsy, were all carefully named by myself. Blossom was white, Smoky was, as you’d expect, a very dark grey. I even had a Mr Gerry, who was rather too fond of people’s legs and had been described to us as ‘affectionate’ when we collected him. We had favourite chickens that were given names – Crystal was our first white chicken (we had Silkies and it was a surprise to get a white one out of a flock of black ones!) and another particularly tame one was Jasmine. Without names they would have just blended in with the others, but with a name they stood out as individuals.

Individuality is what it boils down to. How we wear our names is important and sharing them is a big step too. Those who know me out in the real world know my name, but for privacy sake I keep it absent from my blog. A lot of other bloggers tell their readers what they’re called and where they come from, but I guess I’m just a little wary.

I couldn’t resist writing about this topic having seen it on my feed. I’ve no doubt rambled on a bit but it was an enjoyable write and I’m going to see what others have written about. But now it’s on to being productive! Much to do…

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