We adopted three cats from a local shelter, and the quest for their names was in full swing. The shelter gave them perfectly good names, but we had to re-name them. It was as if they needed to be “re-born” at their new home, and heaven help them forget who they were before, and, please, may they remember who they are now.
You can tell from my tone that I would have left their shelter-names in place, though two were kittens who will likely accept their new identities. The older cat had a name before she was found, but no one knows what it was. So everyone gets a new start at the Breens.
The discussion for who should be called what was rather revealing of the humans who dwell here. Considering that the older female wound up as Clara Schumann and one of the youngsters is now Sokolov, named after the great pianist Grigory Sokolov, you get a pretty good idea about this musical home. The felines, by the way, show little attraction to the piano when it is played, which it is, for hours, every day. But one can always hope.
The third cat got away from the classical scene with the name Monk. Our favorite television show’s detective is nothing like his name’s sake. Kitten Monk is the most social and gregarious of the bunch.
I read that William E. Boeing, who founded United Airlines, named his pet Pekingese General Motors. I don’t do revenge-naming, but I applaud a good one. Our little Monk almost seems like a sarcastic naming, but it was shortened from his shelter name, Monkey, which was a far better fit for this guy.
I’m only glad my brood does not get to name my fictional characters. I follow the Old Testament and name for qualities or themes. The Hebrew Bible has the resonance of a fable because every single name is symbolically meaningful in the original. It’s lost in translation, where, for example, the name “Ruth” no longer sounds like “companion/friend,” an allusion to her being the first convert who expressed loyalty to her adoptive family. How many would name their girls Leah if they heard the meaning, “weary/tired?” The biblical matriarch was just that. With eleven kids and being almost blind, who can blame her?
I focus, and find my way to characters’ names. Names can be trendy, and accrue connotations over the years. I think and feel my way to a name, and know when I've got it. When the name is right, the character begins to speak.
Monk, Sokolov and Clara Schumann are too busy chasing a string to be talking much.