Write Me a Name


What’s in a name?

When I received my BA in English Literature, my dad gave me a computer. I named it (her) Gwendolina. I’m telling you this because naming inanimate objects is an exercise in creative writing. Not only is it a cool way to come up with unusual names, but it also helps me with my writing.

Names are important because they provide a personality to inanimate objects. Think about it, when we meet someone (whether in person or in writing), we make a judgment on his or her name, whether it is conscious, subconscious or unconscious. We associate names with other people we know, or with famous people, or places we’ve visited, or we simply associate it with the connotation of a name. And yes, names have connotations. For example, the name Gunilla is a perfectly good and straightforward Swedish name, but I don’t know any Gunillas, but I immediately imagine a large blond woman dressed in an Oktoberfest outfit (called a Tracht) with a blond plat curled up into a bun on the top of her head. Come to think of it, I would probably name my next Christmas tree Gunilla.

Now it’s your turn:

Try naming an inanimate object. Make or apply a name that you think suits this object. Don’t just give it a random name, give it some careful thought, and weigh different names against each other, selecting the one you think is best.

I’d love to know what you came up with. You can post the name in the comments section, along with the reason for your choice.

Good luck and happy writing!

Sofia

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25 Comments to “Write Me a Name”

  1. My first car was named Hamil. Partly because it was a history pun (Hannibal’s father was named Hamilcar,) and partly because every time it went down a hill, it gave this obnoxious whine, vaguely reminiscent of Mark Hamill.

  2. I had a 1964 Ford Fairlane that I called “John’s Girl,” because it was a one-owner antique car, and John took really great care of her before he sold her to me. I loved her too.

  3. I do this as well. I named my vaccum robot Mary after a cleaner my parents once had. It doesn’t do stairs or corners and it cleans nothing above its own eye level. My PC is called after the guy who set it up for me; Remo.

  4. I named my first laptop Benji, which worked equally well when he was a whizzing, playful young laptop and an old, cantankerous machine.

  5. I had help though, when naming the microwave Louise Margarita :)
    But I used to have a bike called Lucy, a nice red bike with a white with flower decorated basket.

  6. When I borrow my parents car, I call the navigation device Tommelientje (sort of the womanly name of TomTom).

    And at work I call all my co-workers (okay, not really an inanimate object, but I am not referring to the individuals so I post it anyways) Wuppies, though not to their faces mind you.

    • I suppose a mass of people is kind of like an inanimate object. Tommelientje… I always think of a Tomtom as male, but the one I know has a female voice, he’s like @smshamma’s SheHe.

  7. My car is called Bertrand, my bike is called Matilda (she has friends Oswold and Mavis), and my computers are Alexandra and Christopher.

    My friend has a harp called Anastasia.

    Sometimes I forget that people won’t know that when I’m referring to Matilda that I’m referring to my bike.

    • A bike with friends, are the friends other bikes?
      Anastasia the harp really has a nice ring to it (no pun intended ;-)

      • Yep. I live in a student house of six people and nine bikes. Whenever Matilda has issues which prevent me from using her I borrow one of the others and can’t help naming them. Amusingly Mavis is more of a man’s bike and Oswold’s definitely a girl’s bike – but the names just fit.

  8. I had a 1956 Izettta car (sort of car) that I called “Cookie Monster”. He was the right colour and greedy.

    • I had to go a n google that car, I was expecting the likes of a great big lunk of a car like a Ford Mustang, or a Cadillac, what I actually found was a one person microcar, I almost fell of my chair laughing, it also looks like the cookie monster!

  9. That’s an interesting post. More interesting is the fact that for as long as I can remember, men had always given their personalised their cars by giving them names – mostly female.

    I had a really old Sony Ericsson phone once, and I called it SheHe. No reason for it other than the fact that I was having a conversation with a friend and we couldn’t decide whether the phone was male or female. And so every time I would refer to “it” I wouldn’t know whether to say “he” or “she”, eventually my friend – to make things easier – started referring to it as “he/she”, and I got affronted and decided to call it SHE-He instead, putting the She before the He.

    Also, I haven’t done it yet, but I would love to call an object of mine “Baby”, and that way I can always refer to Dirty Dancing and say “Nobody puts Baby in a corner” =)

    • SheHe, interesting, very taciturn phone I imagine, and the putting baby in the corner line made me laugh, perhaps, you’d like to use “Baby” for something inconspicuous like a doorstopper or a bookend?

  10. What a good idea! I haven’t ever named any inanimate objects…maybe that accounts for my lack of creativity! I will have to try it, though. :)

    • It’ just an exercise, I also had a bit of trouble at first but it’s really fun. I’d love to know what you came up with :-D

  11. I call my other palm tree Sally, because then I think of ‘When Harry met Sally’

  12. I call my palm tree Harry, short for Harry Belafonte. Palm trees remind me of calypso music.

  13. Nice post! I called my freaky microwave Louise Margarita.

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