The ability to name people, places, objects–as seen in Judeo-Christian mythology, for example, when God gave the newly made Adam dominion over all other creatures, and specifically the privilege of naming them–means power. When Odysseus (above) proudly reveals his hitherto carefully concealed name to the Cyclops Polyphemus, he unwittingly grants him the ability to curse his enemy for the next nine years, effectively altering his own personal destiny.
When we first acquire, as children, dolls and pets, our first act is to name them, designate them as our own possessions. And when we grow into adults, we do the same with our own children.
Many will balk at the unusual names I’ve given my fictional characters. A work of pure realism would undoubtedly avoid this as “improbable.” However, the Romantic side of me could hardly resist the opportunity to embed more meaning in the work, by any means available. So rest assured, every name was carefully chosen. Sometimes I merely wanted to communicate an ethnic or cultural heritage, enhancing the personal histories of my characters. At other times, I had a deeper philosophical and literary agenda. Some of the names, while evoking only a shrug in isolation, may even work together.
As a wise man–now what was his name?–often declared, ’nuff said.