What’s in a name?

Shaw Photography Group
photo by Shaw Photography Group

Had a friend recently comment on granddaughter Ireland’s name and asking about the history of it. Well, yes—it does have a history. And like almost everything else involving my grandkids, it’s kinda funny.

But first, here’s a list of the other eight grandkids and the story behind their names.

  • Jeana Ajaanna: A good example of what happens when teenagers have babies. I was a teen mom too and my son’s name is spelled funky so I’m just as guilty.
  • Landon Allen: Daddy Allen vetoed Garrett so Nina went with “Landon”. It fits.
  • Emma Rose: Garey and Ellen were in the old fashioned phase. Never known a name more suited to a child than “Emma”. Gorgeous name, gorgeous baby, gorgeous kid.
  • Ava Hailey: Allen wanted to go with Hailey but I asked him which name was more in tune with a CEO of a major corporation—Ava or Hailey. And, knowing he was a huge Sinatra fan, I threw in the fact Ava Gardner was the love of Frank’s life.
  • Paisley Rae: Brad Paisley’s song “I’m Still a Guy” was popular at the time and Ellen thought Paisley would make a cute name. It’s cute, quirky, unique—just like our Paisley.
  • Aiden Chandler: Garey and Ellen had his name picked out with their first pregnancy. Three daughters later, they were able to use it.
  • Ivy Leigh: Ivy was a somewhat difficult pregnancy which put Nina in the hospital a few times. During one of those emergency visits, a nurse told Nina she had named her daughter Avery and Nina and Allen kinda liked that. They liked that it was similar to Ava, so they changed it to an “I”, shortened it to three letters to match Ava’s and, there you go.
  • Casey Allen: Casey is daddy Allen’s mother’s maiden name and Allen liked it because it was a wee-bit Irish. Yes, Landon and Casey share middle names, named after their dad. By this time, Nina and Allen had run out of names.

And now for Ireland Chandler…coming up with a baby’s name is never easy but when you have twins, it’s double the anguish. We went back and forth with the twin cliche options—should they sound the same, begin with the same letter, compliment one another, be totally opposite, etc…

I suggested Casey and Chandler—the maiden names of each of the grandmothers. Nina and Allen liked the idea and decided that was what it would be. Casey and Chandler. Shower invitations were sent for Casey and Chandler. Everyone was excited about Casey and Chandler. Nina’s best friend Sananda McGehee made beautiful wall hangings for the nursery, one for Casey and one for Chandler.

And then sometime between the shower and the first labor pain, Nina confessed she didn’t want to name her baby Chandler. She really liked the name Ireland. She had heard it used before, and well, we are a wee bit Irish, right?

And that’s how our Ireland came to be Ireland. Possibly the only child with a wall hanging proudly displaying their middle name.image (4)

Kicking the one-night stand to the curb

Every writer has a process. For some, the idea comes first and once the idea is fleshed out on paper into a story, they give it a title. In the meantime, they refer to their work as their WIP- or work in progress. For others, the title is there from the beginning, either generated before the first word is ever written or shortly after.

I’ve always been a title first writer, sometimes, building an entire novel around the title. When the title is there from the beginning, I know the direction the story is going, the tone I want to convey, and the purpose of every word. Without the title, I tend to flounder. The story isn’t real to me yet. It’s like a high school writing assignment – something you have to do but will drag your feet doing it.

Several months ago, I started my current project. Note the keywords several months and current project! I knew the story beginning to end, and even the middle but writing it was a chore. The story and I fought against one another. It wanted to just lay there and die and I would come along every now and then and perform a quick bout of CPR to instill new breath. I’d tell myself ‘tomorrow night – I’ll finish this chapter’. When tomorrow night came, there was a fascinating discussion on Twitter or some heavy-duty drama going on on facebook. Did I feel guilty? Not really. I wasn’t invested in the outcome. My current work – or WIP – was like a one-night stand rather than a good marriage. I didn’t even know it’s name!

Well, yesterday, I was playing around with some design programs I have and trying my hand at cover design. Again, note the fact I was more or less just killing time, not writing. And then something magical happened. I started looking for pictures to manipulate in the various photo editing programs and there it was. As soon as I saw the picture, the title hit me like the proverbial ton of bricks. I joyfully kicked the WIP to the curb and happily committed to Nobody’s Baby.

It feels real now.

What do you think of the cover? It will probably change a little but I do like the concept. And yes, that’s my granddaughter Ivy high-stepping through a grassy field.

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