Friday, October 24, 2008

From Alison to Zari

In which I reveal the depths of my childhood dorkiness.

Oh, the things I have found this week! My parents moved recently and sent me this:

17 boxes full of stuff from my childhood. The pile includes all my old books, every card anyone sent back RSVPing to my Bat Mitzvah, and a box I haven't opened yet which my sister has labeled "Jacqui: Toys From College."

Tonight I reached randomly into the first box and found treasure: my Names Notebook. For three years, I kept track of every single girl's name I could think of or came across. I wrote them all down in a black composition notebook, one letter of the alphabet per page, like this:

There are 568 names in here, starting with Alison, ending with Zari, and passing Efraziti (which I have to use in a book someday) and Moon Unit ("as in Zappa!!!" I wrote), though not including Tinkerbell or her actual name. The cool thing is that I'm not positive why I decided to keep the Names Notebook, but I have a hazy memory that it was so that I'd have names for characters someday, if I ever, gasp, got to be a real, live author.

Now, you may be thinking, "That's not so dorky." Just wait. Peruse briefly that first page where I have invented 45 punny names from "Idy Testchew" to "Bo Nannah." Now flip to the almost end of the notebook. No, not the last five pages, on which I seem to have written and solved long division problems involving fractions, apparently just for fun, which I then circled and numbered in order of difficulty. Go to the Z names, and then turn one further, which brings us to this:

Yup. That's a dated running record of how many names I'd collected, including a key to the symbols I used to codify the words by spelling, uniqueness, and gender ambiguity. It's updated almost every time I added a new name. Note my excitement at 500. Yup, that says, "Let's party!!" Twice.





Don't laugh. At least I know my dork cred is legit. What you got?

And if you need names for your NaNoWriMo characters, you know where to come...

EDITED TO ADD:
Concerned I might either out-dork him or run off with Cindy (see comments) The Mighty Thor (failed Eagle Scout) admits: "You know how Boy Scouts have merit badges? I was unhappy with the merit badges that existed, so I made up 50 of my own. I designed actual badges for them and painted them onto cardboard circles so I could display them. These extra badges included such achievements as "Illuminati" (for playing the board game Illuminati well), "Communist" (where you learned a lot about Karl Marx), and "Calculus" (self-explanatory).

Oh my. Do we deserve each other or what?

26 comments:

Kristi Valiant said...

Oooo, I have a website for you, if you don't already know about it. http://www.babynamewizard.com/voyager

Baby Name Wizard has all kinds of fun name tools. You can map names according to how popular they are in states. I really like the Voyager which charts what names are popular what years going all the way back to the 1880s. Very convenient for finding a historical fiction cast for your book.

Kelly said...

What a treasure to look through! I bet you had fun going through your childhood things! I have a handful of things from my school years. You are lucky! Love the name list! You can author the next Baby Name book!

J. Thorp said...

Holy cow! That's fantastically dorky, Jacqui -- I'm wracking my brain, but I can't come up with anything quite this singular and definitive.

And I love it -- truly!

C.R. Evers said...

Wow! How great that your parents kept all that! There are so many things I would love to see from my school days, but I doubt my mom kept them.

I think that's a pretty cool name list. Let me join you in the sisterhood of the name-coding-notebooks.

Anonymous said...

Congrats! You have certainly established your dork credentials. What do I have? Hmmm. While searching through copious amounts of childhood memorabilia I recently discovered several copies of the newspaper I published (that lasted about 3 weeks), canceled checks that were issued from my bank (I was not FDIC insured), and a notebook that was labeled ENCYCLOPEDIA. Apparently I thought the Encyclopedia Britannica wasn't doing a good enough job and started my own. I got as far as a caves, dinosaurs and a construction paper model of a human sketelton with internal organs. Where do I fit on the Dork scale? PS I also found a diagram that involved trying to lure a beaver out it's house with a carrot.

Sara said...

You were one obsessed chick. I bow before your indexing greatness. Did you know that there's some story like that about Roget when he was a kid? Got to track that down...

Anonymous said...

You are not a dork and you must be having so much fun with these boxes! Is there anything to share with Tink?

Jacqui said...

Oh, Kristi, the hours I spent on the baby name wizard when I was pregnant!

Kelly, Christy, and Anonymous #2: it has been much fun.

Thorp, so glad my dorkiness could amaze you so...

Anonymous #1, I LOVE the encyclopedia part especially. You may come and join me in the pantheon of legendary dorks.

Sara, that would make it cooler. Must look.

J. Thorp said...

Amaze and inspire, Jacqui -- I think it's pretty remarkable and kinda cool.

My Blogger verification word is "wrimona" -- add that to your list!

tammi said...

You just scored HUGE dork points for that index.

Let's party!

Candace Ryan said...

I always wondered what a census taker's childhood was like:)

Too cool!

cindy said...

wow, i thought *i* was weird. marry me, jacqui. it doesn't matter we are both married and straight--we an make it work. haha!

for a while, i signed ever dollar bill that crossed my path. haha! um, i'm pretty sure it's a felony? =X

Sara said...

Here's the link to the Washington Post story about Roget. According to it, he used lists to "stave off madness."

Jacqui said...

Thorp! Wrimona should totally be my NaNoWriMo main character!

Tammi, you made me snork.

Everyone, if Ida Testchew made you laugh, you should see Candace "Queen of Punny"'s blog.

Jacqui said...

Cindy, I thought you'd never ask!

Sara, I can't wait to read it. Stave off madness, eh? Guess synonyms work better than girls' names...

Jacqui said...

The Mighty Thor's comments were so good I had to edit the post to include them...

J. Thorp said...

You and Thor RAWK! (Blogger says "triete" this time -- I think that means it agrees.)

sruble said...

Thanks for posting your memories. It was fun to read about your name journal :)

You and Thor are great together! I love the idea of keeping names. I keep the realy interesting ones I come across, but never seem to use them because a character already has a firm identity in my mind when I create them, or I use the social security website to get more current names. email spam is usually good for names, especaiily if you need last names.

Jacqui said...

sruble, I want to write a mystery novel using all spam names someday.

Amber Lough said...

You ever talk to John Green? I ask because I'm sure you're in the works somewhere in his WIP, whatever it is. I mean, you ARE a John Green Type. (Or were, in Middle School.)

Word Verification: Sesolba. She's a saucy, frankincense-wearing Roman from the 1st century. No, really.

Jacqui said...

Amber, I need to plumb the robot detection words for my notebook, I think.

And how sweet would it be to be a character in John Green's book? But if I HAD been talking to him, I would have said something like "flabble klaggle blabble," I fear.

Nora MacFarlane said...

What a hoot! I can so relate. I was a dorky-dork...

Jacqui said...

Nora, welcome! Thanks for identifying.

sruble said...

Ha! Good idea! Just make sure you use the really weird spam names.

taralazar said...

Here's my dorky name moment from childhood.

My friends and I used to play school, and I always insisted that the first step be writing the names of our students. So we'd each get a piece of paper and write 20 names, first and last. Then we'd stand up and take roll call.

And then we'd usually stop playing school. It was the name generation that fascinated me.

I have no idea if my friends loved or hated that game. But I wanted to play it constantly.

Unfortunately, I have no proof of my dorkiness. All class lists have been discarded.

Jacqui said...

Tara, I think we would have been BFF.