Thursday, July 21, 2011

the art of naming

I'm compulsive.  I want to get started on something before the dust settles on consideration.  I've learned to hold back the shouts, and a name often gets slapped on.

This is why nine months gestation is a good thing.  The name can percolate.  And that little one up there?  She was Sophie for her fall and winter term in my belly and in fact, for a few hours and even that whole night after she was born.  But after forty-two hours of labor, a forty-five minute contraction from hell, a botched and bloody and unwanted epidural, and a much-undesired cesarean, my belly split open like a fish-gut, and my husband leaned over me, rubbing my shoulder, quiet with pride at what I did with my body, and told me, "You can change the name if you want.  You've earned it."  And thus, Maya became Maya, a name he'd already rejected, partly for the alliterative qualities with her middle name, Marjorie, a name belonging to her great-grandma, a woman I deeply admire.

This blog's name has sat with the company of dust-bunnies for years.  When we went on our honeymoon, nearly four years ago, I created an email that could be reached by both of us; the slow internet connection on the ship ticked many pennies from our savings and I wanted something our parents and friends could reach quickly, something I could send brief photos from quickly.  When we reached shore and home, I saved the blogger name, thinking I might use it for updates about us and our home-life, but that task never moved beyond naming.  The blog stagnated.

And I'm glad it did because I am not in love with the new blog templates, and this clings to the old-school simplicity.

I could re-reserve a name, and I did, for a day:  mapsofpoetry.  But the name sounds nicer with the "and" even though it forever links the two things I thought represented us:  maps, for his career in GIS, and poetry, for my hope to get an MFA and eventually make poetry dominate my incarnation as a high school teacher.  Four years later.  He's still programming and I've finished the coursework for an MFA and have a chapbook in the world.  The name of that, the book, was much more certain than any other naming.

Though I can say, with Maya, I knew "Sophie" wasn't her name.  We picked it after an Autumn Brew Review--I was designated driver, Ryan was well-flavored--and he proclaimed it the one that stuck in his mind the most, an already rejected name from my list.  And so Sophie, that glass-bottle name, that light-at-the-bottom-of-a-pool echoed.  Her cousin Jimmy, in Skype sessions after, would say, "Yeahyeahyeah, Maya is great, but where's Sophie?"  I think of the poems I wrote about the infertility and the difficult pregnancy, the tears rent in my body, the bile and push.  She was someone else to me then.  Now, in this incarnation, she's earthy, a baby who is considered "easy" or "good," one who doesn't wake in the middle of the night wailing and needing her paces, one who grins easily and fills my heart like I'm falling in love, that sudden jolt where it fills up and knocks you to your knees.  This is the girl I write about now.  The successes of the body, the product that glows warm and near.

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