Shakespeare wrote,” What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” But, here, I beg to differ. I believe that names are everything.
Many parents carefully choose names for their children that have great meaning. They want to call forth an idea or a particular noble trait that they would like to see manifest in their child’s life. And, oftentimes, children are named for beloved family members to honor their memories and legacies.
In some cultures, there are naming ceremonies and blessings are bestowed upon the newborn. The family takes all of the steps to hopefully reassure the little one with a good, protected life.
We hear our names almost daily and on some days, we hear them repeatedly throughout the day. Each time it is spoken, a silent quality is being called forth.
That is one of the reasons that I am intrigued by the dictionaries of names. There are so many adjectives listed to describe a name’s meaning and when I look up someone’s name, I am often amazed to see how their personal qualities link to the descriptors given for that name.
I took a lot of time before I named the major characters in my books and my mother and I did the research for Phoenix and Tyre. Their parents, Elisha and Septima were also carefully chosen but at a later time. We know that the Phoenix bird dies daily and is reborn the next morning.
My character, Phoenix has a lot to overcome and she’s constantly trying to work on herself to become a more understanding and flexible person.
Tyre, on the other hand, formerly went by the nickname of Trey. As Trey, he was not as responsible as he should have been. Once his father reminds him of the meaning of his given name, Tyre, he starts to use it. It means rock, power and wealth. Thus, his life improves on many levels as he finds his center of strength and acts more responsibly.
I chose Phoenix’s mother’s name after seeing a picture of Septima Clark. She was an educator and activist and to me her pose epitomized wisdom. Phoenix’s mother, Septima, exudes wisdom and is very patient with her daughter as she gently guides her and allows her to think out loud in her presence.
Elisha, Tyre’s father was given a Biblical name. This prophet was known for his diplomacy. His name means power, and one that helps to deliver. Elisha offers his steady, firm hand of guidance as he assists his son on his turbulent journey.
None of the names of the characters were chosen by happenstance. All of them have names that have been researched or are the names of family, friends or people who I have met along the way. The names were distinctly chosen to match the traits of the characters.
Names are of the utmost importance and I think that it helps if one can find that name in a dictionary of names. Then, there will be a wonderful list of attributes to emulate as one works towards becoming all that one can be!
September 6, 2015