What’s In A Name?

Notes on Creativity theme of the week:
Creating Adventures

One year at summer camp I told my fellow campers that my name was Lynn. And so, for those three weeks, that’s who I was. I felt like a different person just by people calling me somthing other than my same-old same-old.

I wondered today if that trick would still work. To test it out, I asked a co-worker to call me by a different first name of her choosing every time she talked with me throughout the day. Good thing I have fun co-workers- she decided to play along.

Added to the mix is my short memory. Almost as soon as the words were out of my mouth, I fogot what I had asked for. So, when I got an email addressed to Lexi about half an hour later, I scrolled down to see if there was a previous email below which would explain Lexi’s identity. Nothing. I looked in the ‘Recipients’ line to see if I had been copied on an email intended for someone else. The email was sent just to me. And then it dawned on me- I’m Lexi! I chuckled and tried it on for size. How would I feel as a Lexi? Lexi responded with formality, precision, and confidence.

Soon after, my co-worker asked “Rachel” when she was going for lunch. Rachel suited me. She was polite and friendly, smiling as she answered.

When “Mercedes’s” opinion was asked late in the afternoon, I could do nothing but stare with a deer-in-the-headlights look. “Mercedes” didn’t work for me.

It was a small thing, really, experimenting with the name change., but it peppered the day with fun. Sometimes all it takes is a creative twist on a same-old same-old to brighten up the day.

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Today’s 4 Minute Writer  

Natasha

She never did like her name. ‘Natasha’ had always made her think of a stuffy old lady giving orders to unwillingly obliging servants She would have prefered to have been a Jane or a Rose. Simple is good.

However, no one had solicited her opinion at birth. In fact, the name had been pre-selected for her before she had even met the light of day. It was grandma Ellinton’s name. Which was exactly Natasha’s point- the name belonged in the past, not to her.

And so, at 21, she stood in line at the Registry office, waiting to change her name legally. As she waited, the tattoo parlor sign across the parking lot caught her attention: Lydia the Tattooed Lady. “Alright,” she thought on a whim, “I’ll call myself Lydia. Maybe I’ll even feel like getting a tattoo when I become her…” 

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13 Comments

Filed under Creativity, Writing

13 responses to “What’s In A Name?

  1. What a delightful idea! I like it. Blessings to you…

    • It is a small thing, but there is only so much adventure one can have in the day-to-day that I’ve found- and ‘happy’ adventure is the only kind I’m interested in. Perhaps as my creative muscles grow the adventures will grow with them.

  2. For those who don’t know about the wonderful Lydia – here is one of the greats singing his signature song (by Harold Arlen) about her:

    Enjoy!

    • Fantastic Paula- thank you for including this clip of Groucho. I first found out about Lydia through the movie The Fisher King, with Jeff Bridges and Robin Williams.

      And further to Groucho and Lydia, here is what IMDB’s Groucho Marx Biography has to say:
      “In the 1950s Groucho was invited to take a tour of the New York Stock Exchange. While in the observation booth, he grabbed the public address system handset and began singing ‘Lydia the Tattooed Lady’. Upon hearing silence coming from the trading floor, he walked into view, was given a loud cheer by the traders, and shouted, ‘Gentlemen, in 1929 I lost eight hundred thousand dollars on this floor, and I intend to get my money’s worth!’ For fifteen minutes, he sang, danced, told jokes, and all this time, the Wall Street stock ticker was running blank.”
      This song sure has history!

  3. Wonderful!
    But I love the name Natasha . . . as in Beddingfield. And her nickname, Tasha.

    To me, Jane is too plain (except when followed by Austen). 😉

    • If I had to choose one of the two names for myself, I think I would choose Natasha. To me, it sounds rich with history, whereas Jane connotates ‘plain Jane’ as you say. With impromptu writing, one never knows what’s going to come out…

      Funny thing, I just googled the name Natasha, and Wikipedia says this:
      “Natasha is a Russian female given name, originally a pet name of Natalia, which in turn derives from the Latin Dies Natalis, meaning ‘Natal Day’ or ‘Birthday,’ in reference to the traditional birth of Jesus. It was traditionally given to girls born around Christmas.”
      How incredibly fitting for this season- I had no idea.

    • Thanks for that tidbit. I love word origins.

  4. I guess we can be thankful we didn’t have the Geldofs, Zappas, Bowies or Martins for parents 🙂 I believe Zowie changed his name to something like Barry…

  5. Names…so important. Are they part of our non-verbal language? Maybe their very shape dictates how others think of us.
    Lovely post, Zoe.

    • I think we take far less care in naming babies these days than in times past. Nowadays novelty is often a determiner whereas meaning of names was far more important in times past.
      Interesting point you make- our name influencing how others think of us. How different would our lives be if our names were different? I know I had a great summer at camp when I was ‘Lynn’. That name gets two thumbs up from me.

  6. Chloe

    Wow – this post made me smile…I can relate to it so well. I legally changed my name from ‘Karen’ to ‘Chloe’ in 2008 and believe it really gave me a new leash of life. I always thought ‘Karen’ was a name meant for older people..not me!

    …and then, months after changing my name to Chloe, I found out that my aunty had a dog….callled…yup, you guesssed it…Chloe!!! 🙂 I still love the name though!!! xx

    • Love this- new ‘leash’ on life 🙂 Of all the names your aunt could have picked for her dog- not a typical dog’s name.
      We are faced with our own name every day, written and verbally. If you don’t identify with your own name, that can be an annoying thing over time- great that you did something about it. Most people don’t.

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