Category: baby name Maude
Fifty years ago, a prime-time comedy launched on ABC. That show was Bewitched, and it put the name Samantha on the map. Here’s how the numbers pan out:
- The year before the show, 1963, there were fewer than 100 born in the U.S.
- By 1964, there were over 400 born
- By 1965, there almost 2,000 born
Do you ever imagine an alternate life? Specifically, what you might have been named, or what you might have named your children if your life was just slightly different?
My husband’s taste in given names is buckets more conservative than mine. From the color of their eyes to the shape of their toes, I cannot imagine our children even a scintilla changed. And yet imagine just one twist in life’s journey, and all of a sudden they’re Dexter and Domino instead of Alex and Clio.
The given name that I so actively disliked as a child was chosen, in large part, because of a clumsy surname, poorly exported into English without harmonizing the improbable consonant clusters. What if my parents had decided to overlook the glaring limitations of a let-me-spell-it-for-you last name? Or what if my ancestors had blanded out their surname to something that accommodated any number of appellations?
A lot of you know that, besides being the co-mistress of Nameberry, I’m a novelist. In fact, my new book, The Possibility of You, comes out today.
While writing about names and writing historical fiction are often very different enterprises, there are times when my worlds collide. Like when it’s time to name my characters.
For some fiction writers, character naming might be a minor consideration, somewhere above comma placement but far below such elements as title and voice and what the characters eat for dinner.
Not so for me, of course, with the character’s name being his or her most important defining characteristic. In my view, the character’s name contains a kind of DNA code for who they are and where they come from, what they value and how they hope to change.