Monday, March 29, 2010

Okay, forgive me, but I've been obsessing over names. What's in a name? Everything and nothing. Especially for a writer, whose job it is to give new names to things, or to arrange the names of what is already there so as to peek behind the labels.

When I was a child, my parents had one of those What To Name Your Baby books. I pored over it until it was dog-eared. I named and renamed each of my twelve imaginary children, six boys and six girls. Sometimes, I regret to report, I gave them all names that started with "J" a la that reality show TV family who have 300 children and are still hoping for more pregnancies. In my own defense I will just say that i was ten years old at the time and not even menstruating yet, so I wasn't much of a threat to the planet's overpopulation problem. As soon as I hit Junior High I wised up.

Anyway, I have been thinking about The Blind Side and how sadly appropriate that name was. And how the Sandra Bullock thing is sobering not just because of the men-can-be-such-faithless-dogs-sometimes-and-why-do-smart-women-fall-for-them, but also, just along the lines of anything can and does happen. You think your life is going in one direction, but you were wrong--in an instant it all comes undone. A car accident, a bad diagnosis, a marriage, a divorce. Shit happens.

I have spent a lot of time thinking about the title to Love Shack, which was conceived early and stuck, but has never seemed quite right. For one thing as everyone and their brother have pointed out to me, it's the title of a B-52s song. I am so out of it I didn't know that song. Everyone else does though, and from what I understand, that's not necessarily a good thing.

So I've been thinking of what to call the book, and thinking about renaming this blog, because face it, I've been blogging under this name for four and a half years and four hundred and one entries. That's a lot. That's enough.

I thought about Judith-Kate Friedman, a singer-songwriter-activist I know, who calls her production company Patience & Adventure. That's a great name. I wish I had thought of that. I meditated this morning and the names that came floating to me were Clarity & Mischief. I was a little uncertain about the mischief thing, because that can get you into trouble. Mischief can sometimes be malicious, but I do have more than a little Coyote in my nature. And "mischief" makes me think of my ten-year-old nephew with the perpetually dancing brown eyes. Eli is a little entrepreneur and my sister reports that he has set up his first lemonade stand of the season. For fifty cents, you can buy a cup of his elixir, and for an additional quarter you get the "secret recipe." But, Emily reports, he makes it from a mix!! She doesn't know what, if any, the secret ingredient is.

I thought that was hilarious, but when I proposed Clarity & Mischief to Christopher he didn't like it that much. What about "Heroically Annoying"? he asked. Now this is a shameless bid for recognition of his own wit as last night we listened to KPFA while we were doing the dishes. (This was Christopher's idea because he loves Music from the Hearts of Space and Joe Frank--I personally boycott KPFA until they get rid of that whiny creep Dennis Bernstein.)

Anyway, we were waiting for Joe Frank, and there was an earnest young polyamorous woman on explaining how she was a "love warrior," how she loved everyone and everything, how she was going to bring peace on earth by making love with everyone and so on, blah blah blah. I know this is what saints do and where we all aspire in the end, but this lady had such a tone of self-righteousness in her voice that I was torn between laughter and smashing the radio. I said to C, "She's just so full of her own self-importance, she's so self-righteous, she's so KPFA, she's so so so..."

"Heroically annoying," he supplied. Exactly. But not for my blog title.

So then I thought of some overblown titles myself: Divine Fool, which was the name of the very short-lived press Alan and I started a century ago, and which I love because how can you not love the divine fool? And then God help me I thought of the Divine Feminine, which is what I actually worship, but you can't say that, it sounds way too pretentious. In fact, scratch anything with Divine in the title, that is heroically annoying right there.

Then one thing led to another, and I started fooling around with my poem Manifesto, and added the line, "Luck at the eleventh hour." And that seemed right. It reminds me of a book title by Grace Paley, Enormous Changes at the Last Minute which leaped off a bargain table in Harvard Square into my hand thirty-five years ago. I bought that book just because of its title, and met one of my all-time favorite writers.

So I like "Luck at the eleventh hour," both as a title for the new book and as the new blog. I'll start it up within a day or two. It's the full moon, it's Passover, it seems auspicious.

5 comments:

Joanna said...

Love love love the title....

from Into the Fire Productions

David Shearer said...

I don't care what you call your blog. I'll follow it anywhere.

Anonymous said...

I like your new photo much better than the old one. I'll need to cogitate on the blog title, though.
Love ya,
Eli's Mom
(He's only 9, by the way--and don't forget the 10 cent delivery charge for bringing the cup of lemonade to the neighbor on her porch!)

Aaron said...

I sure like the current name. "Almost flying" is just about the best any of us can do. What is old to you still resonates among your new readers (and I hope you continue accumulating them!).

Anonymous said...

i vote to keep the present name. "see how we almost fly" says so much in so few words; it conjures up interesting imagery, and serves this site well, IMHO. :)