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The Game of the Name

May 19, 2017

I'd like you to have a think about your characters' names.

We name them for verisimilitude; to buy the confidence of the reader. But we sometimes sacrifice that very same thing. Once upon a time I began to read a novel with the main characters 'Alison' and 'Phil'. I just couldn't get it up for them in a manner of speaking. 

I think it's worth considering them with as much care as a mother and father might. Our names are the repository or our parent's aspirations in some ways. Naming my children was like shopping for the life I thought they might have. I named my daughter with a play on words, using French, to suggest that she would be able to give herself all she needed in life. I was thinking in the manner of the painter Duchamp's pseudonym Rose Sélavy, perhaps. (Eros c'est la vie.) Not that that's what I called her.

One of my favourite tales from childhood is the Grimms' tale 'Rumplestiltskin.' The miller's daughter must sacrifice her first born child if she cannot...

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