Favorite names I haven’t used in a novel

I’m waiting to name a character Sorrell. And Hezekiah is what I would have loved to have named a son, not that I would have found support on that one. Maybe as a middle name?

In a story, I try to avoid using names of people I know, or at least know well. Ditto for close family. So they don’t count here. It certainly narrows the range. On top of everything, after multiple revisions, I don’t always remember what I’ve kept in the end.

Besides, a name should be suggestive.

Now for ten or so more.

  1. Lane. Or Blaine. Unisex, very useful.
  2. Perry. Unisex again.
  3. Majik. Was a fisherman around here but could be unisex.
  4. Dana. Well, since we’re on a roll.
  5. Marilyn. Evocative, yet all-American.
  6. Pierce. I see a cutting edge in his glance.
  7. Bonita. Could go by Bonnie, too. From the Spanish, makes an alternative for Linda, which I also haven’t used, or Melinda, even better.
  8. Trent. The family had aspirations and this was the golden boy.
  9. Berry. Back in unisex, along with alternative spellings.
  10. Lark. Even Clark. Or Clifford. Or Larkins.

For children, though, I’ve become very fond of handing down family names. Even using a maternal surname. Guess it’s the genealogist in me at work.

We haven’t even gotten to nicknames, which can really pop a character into focus. Think of “Willy” as one possibility.

How ‘bout some suggestions from you?

Praying the breaking news

latest dispatch, the first in nearly a year, tells of her decision to return to wearing a covering  but Mennonite-style rather than her mother’s Quaker so what’s this about more hot wheels, eh, or clicking those heels, ah, to prefer dwelling in New England as I recall our discussion comes back, so I learned last night nothing else new comes to mind to report look forward to the next mailing, of course I’m not always a sterling example of what some embrace as Christian Love with or without the olives, yes, definitely, stay securely on your feet or knees the heartbreaking headlines demand attention regardless of the deadline every small detail adds up

Hunkering down for winter

We’re quickly approaching the longest nights of the year, which are truly long here in Eastport. Accompanied by the most truncated days of the year, when the sun barely clears the horizon. We’re just a hair shy of the 45th Parallel, the halfway point between the equator and the North Pole. These days, it can feel even further north than the map shows.

The experience can be especially harsh here, now that the Summer People are long gone and most of the stores and galleries are shut for the season while those that remain open do so largely on limited hours. You might see a stranger or two in town around sunset, looking for a place to eat, and the best you can do is tell them to go to the IGA and get there before the 7 o’clock closing. Pizza slices or deli cuts plus a six-pack lead the list.

Even more, we know big snow, escalating ice, and profound cold are still ahead, as well as a blustery nor’easter or three.

We don’t even have a retail scene to crank up the holiday hoopla. Nor do we have anything resembling a nightlife, apart from a few cultural performances. Bless ‘em, especially after the Covid shutdowns.

Needless to say, social connections are especially important. For me, that includes singing in Quoddy Voices and worshiping with Cobscook Friends Meeting.

Also anticipated is a big stack of reading, both books and magazines, and concerts streamed from the Pine Tree State and beyond.

I’m already looking forward to the invasion of family for the holidays.

How do you adjust to such seasonal change?

 

 Some things I miss about Dover

It may be a small city, but even so, it was home. And much larger than where I’m now living.

So some of what I miss?

  1. The over-the-fence or across-the-street conversations. Especially the guy stuff. Tim, Mark, Jack, Mayor Bob, that circle, especially.
  2. Recycling. I feel guilty putting it all in one bag. Unless the volunteers regroup after this Covid thing.
  3. The indoor pool. Not just the physical exercise of swimming, but the banter with other swimmers and the lifeguards.
  4. The Quaker Meeting and Greek circle, too. Not just older folks, but meeting the babies who have come along in the interim.
  5. Our garden, even though it was a lot of work. It was even visually pleasing.
  6. That leads to glutting out on fresh asparagus for nearly a month in late spring.
  7. And heirloom tomatoes, with tomato and mayo sandwiches for the better part of two months come high summer. (Downeast Maine is too cold at night for them to mature.)
  8. A range of dining options, not all of them in Dover. We weren’t far from neighboring communities. Not just ethnic, either. LaFesta Pizza would be a prime example of taking a specialty a step extra.
  9. The Amtrak as an escape to Boston or Portland. Not that I had used it that often, back before Covid, but I had plans.
  10. Dishwasher, clothes washer and dryer. Without the renovations on our new old house, it was a return to a primitive era for me. The two nearest laundromats were an hour away, in opposite directions.

Before hearing the sales pitch

my list: Desert Boots so I’ll have a very comfortable pair of shoes at the office, but it turns out that the original kind are impossible to find, and pricey but rather than being upset by that fact today, I found myself intrigued by the hunt, I’ll just keep watching and waiting a jaunty rain-repellant windbreaker to replace the decade-old one my now ex-wife gave me which I’ve never really liked, color or cut, even when it drew favorable comments, it just wasn’t me or a dressy raincoat as in a London Fog, I still wound up buying some nice, and essential, overdue items, including winter boots the old L.L. Bean muck-luck style, but fun and necessary for a New England winter now I can mud it up with the best of the locals and keep my head up and a new wallet as for the Japanese robe or pea jacket very nice cut but still more than the one at the sporting goods store), not yet a consumerist, yrs truly in comfy new wraps

Writing versus real life

There are many reasons I spend so much butt time at the keyboard, as poet/novelist Charles Bukowski once compressed the practice.

I’ve examined some of them elsewhere, but what I’m circling back to today is the necessity of bringing some kind of order to the seeming chaos of what happens to each of us in “everyday life,” at least through the lenses of my own encounters.

What emerges is hardly objective, no matter my training in objective journalism. If anything, I lean on the hopeful side of history. The side we see as progress, even in the face of the clouds of doom.

Long ago I crossed a threshold where I couldn’t move forward without drawing on so much that had accumulated before then. I think of it as turning the compost, to give it air and enrichen future crops, worms and all. Yes, those blessed red wigglers. Or wrigglers, depending on your spelling.

Am I self-deluded? Or is my practice of writing one of prayer, even in the face of so much hopelessness?

What is life, anyway, apart from what we experience subjectively?

So here we are, all the same.

Keep writing, those of you in this vein. No matter the outcome.