First some quick news: a reminder that this Sunday is our podcast night (9 PM EST!); I’m also doing a SFWA podcast Friday before lunch for indies/small press folks thinking about joining. Link to that later this week. Morgan 3 is at 77K words, and I suspect we are about 25K from the ending… I am anticipating that being done by the first week of April. Finally, I’m hoping to collect another couple of reviews on Thief of Songs, since 20 is the minimum for some of the promotion sites I use. If you liked the book, consider leaving a quick note on Amazon! Thank you!
Now, on to the day’s question, which is prompted by my list of things to fix in the Blood Ladders trilogy once I finish it. Do you have separate pet/love names for people you care about?
I ask this because it seems completely natural for me to have a note on my list that says ‘make sure Morgan calls each person he cares about by the same distinct name.’ So if Ivy’s going to be ‘my dear’, then Amhric won’t be, and if I want him to be ‘my dear’ than Ivy should be ‘beloved’ or what-have-you. This is probably a result of my upbringing. Not only did my entire family have pet names for each other, they were contextual (probably thanks to Spanish being so fond of diminutives). My mother had different pet names for both me and my sister. My father’s were different for me from my mother’s. Mine for my sister was different than my mother’s for her. I could tell from a single name who was talking, who they were addressing, and how serious the situation was. (There’s a reason there’s so much naming protocol in all my alien cultures.)
Now, I think this is totally normal. Once someone becomes a figure of importance in my heart, they get their own distinct name. Sometimes they get several, if they serve multiple roles in my life (the way my spouse is both my husband and the father of my child), or if I need multiple “registers” for speaking to them, the way I switch out pet names for my child based on how serious our conversation is.
But I’ve met people who use the same pet name for everyone they care about. One particular friend called all her loved ones ‘baby’ or ‘babe’, from her children to her spouse to her best friends. This seemed crazy to me, but it has the virtue, I guess, of simplicity…! But she’s not the only person I know like this. I know the way I do things has a lot of pitfalls. Calling people by pet names they don’t like or feel you haven’t earned is insulting; learning that someone is using the same pet name for you they use for other people is disheartening (and may give the impression that you don’t care enough about them to give them a unique monicker). It also removes obscurity: if I call you by something when I’m pleased with you and something when I’m being grumpy or serious, then you’ll know my mood by how I call you. That sort of thing. But I feel like at least if I was in a room full of my loved ones and I called out a name, I’d only get one person’s attention, not all of them!
So what’s your naming culture? What did you grow up with? How do you name your loved ones, and is it to closer to one-name-for-everyone or a-billion-names-for-each-person?
Here’s a bonus: one of my pet names growing up, from my mother, was ‘pupusi.’ I reminded her of that today and asked where it came from, and we laughed because she wasn’t sure she remembered. But we both figure it came from ‘pupa’ (with a Spanish diminutive added on for cuteness) because of my transformation from baby into child, and how miraculous it was to her.
Anyway, talk to me!