02 November 2010

Day 220: Gathering Blue

Gathering Blue by Lois Lowry.  ISBN: 9780440229490.

I loved the idea that as people in the village got older they added syllables to their name.  For instance someone who begins life as Ann could end life as Annabella.  It's almost like building in an honorific into the name: the more syllables you have, technically the more respected you are.  Those who reach four syllables are considered by the community to be "all knowing," the wisest and most informed.

I like this mostly because as we grow older we change as people.  It makes sense to me that we should also change our names, but recognize the past that who we are now was built on.  Women get this opportunity when they marry, and while it does mark a change in their lives and who they are, it also implies some loss of identity.  They once belonged to their father's family, and now they belong to their husband.  Taking another last name does not so much give credit to your past as it erases it from everything but your family tree.  There's always the option of hyphenating, but that gets messy after several generations and most of us only change our last names once or twice.

Personally, I've never really liked my first name.  The only problem of course, is that I don't know what other name to give myself.  For awhile I toyed with Vivian Leigh, but that was a name for a much older woman, a woman who smokes cigarettes with a holder, drinks brandy, wears gaudy costume jewelry, and writes filthy, filthy romance novels in her six bedroom mansionette, probably located in Virginia or possibly Georgia.  I am obviously not there yet, though you will never see me smoking cigarettes, not even with a handcrafted ebony holder.  This is a name I came up with when I was about 13 and actively writing smut.  Had I been ambitious in that area I may have actually tried publishing under that name when I became a little older.

I would consider taking Danny's last name (which is not actually Walker).  It unfortunately ends with an ee sound, which would not go well with my first and/or last name (Amy Leigh).  Yeah, toooooo many ee sounds.  I could see myself becoming an Amelia at some point, which only gets me up to three syllables.  Maybe people who know me can recommend better names?  Do you like your name, do you have other names you use as pseudonyms?  What are they, why do you have them, how long have you had them, and why did you choose that name for yourself?

A decent, if short, review can be found at Books R4 Teens.


  1. Hey Amy don't diss your name! (just teasing! It's my name too!) LOL I like Amy now but there was a time when I was a teenager that I wanted to change my name!

    I have read this book by Lois Lowry yet but I like the way she writes and it sounds very interesting. It does make sense to change your name when you change or move on with you life. It might get confusing though!

  2. Amy,
    That's part of why I liked the idea of building on your name instead of changing it altogether. Granted, Lowry was writing about a very small community where everyone knew or knew of each other so it was much easier to keep track of who was who, etc. And I actually do like the name Amy, it's just sometimes it feels like it doesn't quite fit. I couldn't tell you why, but there it is.

  3. For some reason, I've said that if I could change my name, I'd want it to be Andrew. I've never really figured out where I came up with that, it just kind of happened, and this post made me think of it.


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