does not describe me fully
it is where to start

Saturday, May 5, 2012

What’s in a Name?

Two authors from different cultures ask, “What is in a name?” The Irish poet Eavan Boland and the Puerto Rican playwright/poet Nancy Mercado conclude that the answer is of fundamental importance in defining one’s existence.

In her essay, “Lava Cameo,” Eavan Boland asks, “Was there really no name for my life [as an ordinary woman] in poetry?” Her search for her late grandmother helps Boland validate her “femaleness” in an otherwise largely male Irish literary tradition.

In her concluding essay to the collection What’s in a Nombre? Nancy Mercado states, “Naming is the spiritual act of living beyond the moment, of signifying something beyond the instant ….”

In both instances, each author reclaims the right to name herself and her work apart from the prevailing hegemony of gender and/or culture. In Nancy Mercado’s words, “The act of naming is rebellious; it is the expression of power over a thing or over someone ….”

It is also an affirming act. As Eavan Boland says, “I had written poems. Now I would have to enter them.”

In a perhaps less consequential way, I have renamed this blog. My literary name Judith Mercado now takes precedence over the previous title of Pilgrim Soul. This is a defining act signifying renewed focus on my literary life. I will always be a pilgrim soul, seeking and learning. This blog, however, will now focus primarily on Judith Mercado as a short story author, novelist, poet, and essayist.

Stay tuned.


Nevine said...

Well, Judy. We are so on the same wavelength, here. I have been straddling the fence on changing my blog's name to my name for many weeks, now. But, I haven't yet had the umph to do it. Thank you for one extra push that I needed. It's very encouraging! Maybe I'll be following suit soon... and... congratulations to you on making the change!


Judy Croome | @judy_croome said...

Excellent decision, Judith! And I love the whole look of your blog. I also found that the moment I decided to "come out of the closet" about my writing and wrote under my real name (Judy Croome) rather than the pen name I'd been using (Ann Victor) marked a huge leap forward in my writing (and in my attitude about myself as a writer!

Looking forward to reading more of your posts, because whether the blog is "Judith MErcado" or "Pilgrim Soul", I know that the content will always be as challenging and interesting as always!

Judy, South Africa

Judith Mercado said...

Nevine, this is still a work in process, but it is a step forward. I look forward to seeing what changes you make, if any. It almost feels as if we are graduating. From what to what, I am not sure.

Judy, thank you for your encouragement. It is a step-by-step coming out process, as you may well appreciate.

Anonymous said...

It's been so long since I've stopped by -- I look forward to whatever you write, name and all!

Judith Mercado said...

Thanks, Kathryn, it's always a thrill to have you stop by.

Judy Croome | @judy_croome said...

Step-by-step is the best way, Judith. Eases the transition. Hope all well with you and your writing!

Judy, South Africa

A Cuban In London said...

I often think that we ought to name ourselves once we're fully grown. My daughter wants to be known as something else now and I feel somewhat slighted by that. But then, again, who named her? And did I ask for her consent? Not that you would of a baby.

Good points you raised which, in our case, have a different twist with the history of colonialism in the Americas. :-)

Greetings from London.

Judith Mercado said...

Cuban, I don't what age your daughter is but, starting through preteen all the way through all the teen years, I kept experimenting with different ways of spelling my name and with different names altogether. In the end,I have been grateful my parents gave me the name they did. There were so many other dastardly possibilities.

AML said...

I totally agree that change is good, and making these changes in a good way;make small changes, small steps. And making a change in the name of your blog is essential as a defining the way you write as a writer and a poet.