I named four children. Two names each. Nice, solid, reasonable names… names that are recognizable, have no inherent hilarity hidden within their syllables, and are easy to pronounce…with the exception of my son, whose name is Elias. We call him Eli. On the South Shore of Nova Scotia, when you are seven years old and win MVP for your hockey team, it is extremely embarrassing for the announcer to read, loudly, into the microphone…
“And most valuable player is…um… Ellie?”
I’m sorry, Eli. I just didn’t see that coming.
I knew someone who named their third daughter Dakota, because he had to sell his truck when she was born. I knew a Holly Wood when I was a kid. And I heard some parents talking about Caliki and I thought it was their husky… but it was their child.
Names are challenging… I maxed out my repertoire of favorite names with my children, but I am a writer of fiction, so I’m giving birth to new characters all the time. Characters who need names.
Sometimes I hear a name and I just know I have to use it, somewhere, sometime. In my first novel, That Thing That Happened, the main character is called Cosy because I heard a presenter at a teacher inservice talking about a student with that name. Parker is named after a teacher I worked with years ago, because he was kinda sexy. In the novel I’m working on now, there’s a Colton because I promised one of my students that I would name a character after him.
Recently, on facebook, I stumbled over a post from a person named Kroetch.
I don’t know this person, and it is wrong of me… wrong, I tell you… to find such delight in this name. My spawn wring their wee hands… my children, who were not allowed to say “shut up” or “stupid” when they were little… when their mother messages them in paroxysms of mirth to share her discovery of the new and marvelous name… Kroetch.
Me: “What if his name was, like… Harry?”
Spawn: “Harry Kroetch… yeah. Funny, Maw.”
Me: “Or Ima? Or Ivannah?”
Spawn: “Ok, Mom.”
Me: “No, wait… Bernie! What if his name was Bernie Kroetch?” (Followed by a dozen emoticons of mirth, including the fat cat eating a piece of pizza because that one’s my favorite.)
Spawn: “Mother… that’s not even funny.”
Me: “Ivannah Bernadette Kroetch… get it? Ivannah Bernie Kreotch? Bahahahaha!”
These are the conversations I have with my children. Sometimes we talk about world events and politics, but most of the time… not.
In my long, socially inappropriate life I have known a Butts. And a Dicks. Johnson. Hickey. Kuntz. Bush. Seimen.
Ok… I’ve never actually known a Kuntz, but I did once know of a guy named Hunt.
First name Mike.
And that’s close enough.
In my novel, Lily’s Valley, I have a character named Murple. My friends, upon reading the early drafts, said gentle, supportive things like: “That’s a really stupid name”… but I couldn’t change it. She was born Murple, and Murple she would stay. Sometimes you just get something stuck in your craw… or your Kroetch… and you can’t let it go.
I now live in fear.
I have Kroetch stuck in my craw.
I believe… in my philosophy of life… that things enter our lives at the right time for the right reason, to teach us something. We learn from every person, and every experience, as we move painstakingly toward enlightenment.
My enjoyment of Kroetch is most likely setting me back several lifetimes… but I fear it may find its way into a novel. I fear I may not be learning the right lessons from my discovery of Kroetch. Empathy? Openmindedness? Basic, rudimentary polite manners?
Ivannah Bernie Kroetch.
I’m going to hell, but hopefully I’ll work that name into a novel before I do.
Here’s a cat eating a piece of pizza. Just in case you don’t have a Bernie Kroetch.
Thanks for reading… many thanks (and apologies) to the Kroetch’s of the world!
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