In the Museum of Popular Culture, there is an exhibit on horror and another on fantasy. My friend names me the archetype of the Iron Woman, but I think I am, at heart, as much Maiden Warrior. I am sure I am Damsel, Rogue, or Mystic.
But I could be. There is a sort of power to naming everything, to imbuing it with some sort of understanding for what it is or will become.
I do not have children to name, but I am quick to offer a nickname as a nemonic for a relationship; my colleagues know: Shoe-Smeller, Black Eye, and Crying-Over-a-B just as sure as they know my in-laws: the Gweedos and our friend Bento Box.
It is natural to name things; this is how we learn about the solar system, the fifty states, and all of the essential parts of a daffodil.
Our thoroughbred Sodapopper was named by H–, my sister, who mispronounced the words soap opera. Our cat named Weeno earned his moniker for his insistent meow, as if he was the spokesmen for the choir of impatient cats: “We know! We know!” White Ears, the chicken and Stripes the cat and even Pumpkin and Snow Spots the horses were baptized for their special look.
Sometimes I change my name. Heather is too difficult for some language speakers, and why spend time repeating it when we could move swiftly into discussing the weather? Sometimes my name is irrelevant; why spell seven letters on the ticket for a torta, when it is easier to be someone else? Sometimes some people don’t need to possess my real name. So I name myself: Ana.
The lint that collects in the bottom of your pockets has a name — gnurr.
The word for when you can’t remember a word: lethologica.
When you can’t remember a name: lethonomia.
Anomia: the inability to name objects or to recognize the written or spoken names of objects.
What do you have the power to name?