What’s in a name…?

… That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.
Romeo and Juliet II.ii.1-2

I can’t say that sprouting R+J (my least favourite Shakespeare) is something I enjoy, but in this situation the Bard said it well. Today I was told to consider naming my longest-running WIP – the Pensky File – and to give a bullet point summary of how each chapter relates to the thesis title. This is a big deal for me. My panel think there is enough there to consider naming my baby, as it were. That it’s far enough along to define it as something other than “my thesis”. That it isn’t the indecipherable ramblings of a Tolkien-obsessed scholar outside the US (I appear to be somewhat of a rarity). That is has body, content, argument, scope, and (I hope) a moot point to examine. It means I’m getting somewhere.

I’ve been dreading even thinking of a name for the past 6 or 7 months, and before that I’d banished the thought from my mind. My MA title would have worked perfectly well here Falling from Grace, as that was the central hypothesis then… but apart from the desire for something original and representative of the work itself, the title will define the work. Having spent the last 3 days up to my eyebrows in the medieval Catholic definitions of freewill, fate and predestination (all of which amount to the same thing, by the way Thomas Aquinas agrees with Boethius that there is no truly free will other than the Demiurge), I find myself thinking of the importance of labels and names. Take the Demiurge for example – the primal creator and giver of life called Gaea, Zeus, Odin, Kaos, Nirvana, Brahma, Yehovah, God, Allah, the Goddess, Dao, Marduk or Ptah. Each represent the same concept of a supernatural, omniscient, omnipotent creator or ruler deity – but by changing the name of this… entity, one changes the definition, values, moral codes of conduct and beliefs attached to the label associated with it. Funny isn’t it? How a single word can carry so much meaning.

My thesis is nothing so grand as to warrant such anguish on a scale that I’m comparing it to names of deities, but I quibble when it comes to assigning meaning to words. I want my title to be an honest and accurate representation of my work without being too stuffy or boring, or too flighty and informal. And do I have any idea what to call it anyway? No. Maybe it’ll come to me in a dream. I can only hope.

On the knitting front, the cobblestone is finished and being worn. It is also, despite painstaking measurements, huge. And it didn’t even grow that much in the wash. It does look to be a bit more fitted on the model than I made it (next time I’ll knit a size smaller, and there will be a next time too), but considering it was made as a slouchy old-friend jersey, it ticks all the boxes and I am happy. More details and photos to come.

The completion of the cobblestone has meant that there has been time for other knitting. I’ve *nearly* finished clue one of the Evenstar (go me!), and now that I’ve spent more than 5 minutes working on the piece, I think I’m really going to enjoy getting to the more complex sections of lace. The silk really is to die for and the blunter addi turbos are working out a dream. I’ll post a photo when clue two is finished. I’ve also been working on my multnomah when I’ve been standing around (not that often), and a large Ishbel as a comfort shawl for a teacher currently going through rough patch. It’s because of her that I’m teaching at the moment, and it is being an experience, so it’s also a bit of a thank you too, I guess. I’m using some Waratah Fibres 2ply in Desert Sunset that I got at the OBDM last year. I’m going to miss not being there this year. More photos when I get to the lace.

All in all, things are happening slowly. I’ll get my stash (and my boots!) tomorrow, and hopefully have a chapter to send off by then as well. Then, I can knit for a few days and finish the final chapter. April is going to be a big month. Happy (Pagan) New Year!

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8 Comments

  1. Well that sounds like great news about the Pensky File. Am sure a suitable name will come to you when you least expect it, that’s what I usually find with things that are important.

  2. I think naming something gives it a substance, a reality it has not previously had. And it is such a powerful thing to do. I love naming things, though I expect I am as bad as McKay from Stargate Atlantis!!!

  3. Names are important. I think Shakespeare got it wrong, at least in sentient beings. (I doubt very much a rose cares what we call it). I’d bet the name for your thesis will occur to you when you’re not paying attention. Your brain will work on it in the background and one day you’ll say, “Yes, that’s what it’s called”. I can’t wait.

  4. I agonize over what to name my cars (don’t laugh!), so I can appreciate your struggles to name your thesis.

    It’ll come to you, I’m sure of it.

  5. i think i am inclined to disagree with the bard here too, the exact name is really important and so you should take your time and let it come to you. the difficulty of finding something catchy that represents the whole thing is not unknown to me, but youre right it does mean you’re at a good stage with it! and yes please photos of cobblestone, i have frogged mine in preparation for making a smaller size too!

  6. ‘Trotter’! Call it ‘Trotter’! Okay, I am a little obsessed with that. But yay you! And you’ve almost caught up with me on Evenstar! And it is gorgeous – I’m loving it, although I’m taking a little holiday to give my brain a rest. And there’s the matter of that missing stitch…

  7. Echoing other statements you will find the right name. Good luck and you have the patience of a Saint…I would have given up long ago. Good luck!

  8. ooh i reckon if I were writing a thesis i’d obsess over the name and not put it off – I used to spend way longer naming my novels than writing them.

    So don’t obsess. Just it come to you. And maybe have fun with it?

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