I have an unusual name. I’ve heard it pronounced countless ways, I’ve been called Eunice, Euripides, and sometimes people resort, simply, to ‘E’. I’ve had to explain It’s Greek but I am not and I’ve told an abbreviated story of Orpheus and Eurydice many times. How did your parents come up with that? Sometimes I’ve felt apologetic when people have to ask how to say it over and over again, and sometimes I’ve felt warmly accepted, when someone has actually read Sophocles’ Antigone, or even seen the Portuguese film Orfeu Negro, which was my parents’ actual inspiration. I don’t know why they were moved to name their firstborn after that doomed heroine – the story is quite a haunting one.
In all, an unusual name has not been a burden to me. I do sometimes wish I could tell my barista Lynn when they ask for a name for my coffee order; if I am with a friend or my children I will use their name instead in a heartbeat. In any other situation (except perhaps when ordering pizza delivery), I use my given name, and (sometimes apologetically) offer to pronounce it for my new acquaintance as many times as necessary. Of course I often receive feedback. It’s beautiful! Sometimes I think it is sincere. It’s somewhat less than feminine to my own ears; I am always reminded of the Israeli spoon-bender and self-proclaimed psychic Uri Geller, and I never let anyone shorten my name to just Eury – I’d rather be called ‘E’!
On the topic of my middle name I am much less autocratic. I was always happy to divulge what my ‘S’ stood for, unlike many who kept their embarrassing middle names secret. While I did mistakenly believe that I had been named, in part, after the shrubby sagebrush plants visible for mile after mile along the arid highway during family road trips to Eastern Washington, I still loved the long ‘a’ and the simple, single syllable word that was my middle name. Later I came to understand that ‘sage’ was another word for wisdom; I like to think that is where my parents were actually going with it.
A recent conversation with a colleague led to the most complimentary compliment I’ve ever received about my name – my whole name. She told me that my name suited me. Well, I’ve heard that before. It’s what my mom still says. Probably most of us have heard something like that. You LOOK like a Jennifer! I responded with a little bit of sarcasm. Do you mean I am a hippie? I am a child of the 70s, but I don’t really consider myself any kind of hippie, exactly. She responded No, your name just sounds green, like you care about the environment, but in a scientific way. To be frank, she’s been listening to me talk about my night school, my environmental policy program for the last eight months or so. But to have someone tell me my name sounds green is like a sign from the universe that I am finally on the right track.
I am starting this blog because I love to learn, and to share what I am learning. Writing is a joy, and comes naturally to me, but is also a tedious chore worthy of putting off. I hope to build my stamina and capacity to produce quality writing. I also hope to share part of my green journey with others. Calling this blog eurydice, sage was prompted by my colleague’s (perhaps singular) interpretation of my name. It is also a hoped for, future state of being.