A History of Names

Today, I come to you wondering what inspirations I can possibly dredge up. We’ve talked about video games, movies, comics, cinema, even questions, and conversations. I suppose I could pack it in, tell you I failed absymally in this experiment, and that I must use my words for good and not evil (or reverse that, as I am writing some pretty dark stuff which is evil and good and not pretty).

Let’s talk about history. I haven’t really addressed that topic much and it really is something I’ve only ever discussed on panels, and then maybe not that often. You see, I expect everyone to already know everything about me going in, and since I don’t like to repeat myself, there ends up being a lot of people who don’t know some interesting factoids I have to share.

Do you ever stop to think why we call the company Reality Blurs? Some folks find it clever, and I appreciate that. A number of folks like the logo as well, thanks to you too, but names, for those who know me are very important. If you look at RunePunk or Agents of Oblivion or Iron Dynasty you’ll find a lot of names in there (and I promise you’ll find a lot of names in Realms of Cthulhu as well). Names are our labels for the world. They give us some sense (real or illusory) of handling things. Philosophers used to think “in the before times” that a name could shape a person, and determine their future. While largely foo-fooed by the modern intellects of today, if you give pause to reflect upon a person’s name, you’ll find it can have a direct bearing upon how one person relates to another, especially in the formative years of youth. Take a Rex and put him next to a Dick. Who do you think is going to be kidded more? Remember, kids are cruel and I didn’t even need to explain any further, did I? Heck, even my own name was cause for consternation in my youth and gave rise for my passion for words, wordplay, and linguistics. My name was not a common name back in the dark ages, and, to add to the confusion, it was my middle name. Teachers insisted I go by my first name, and I refused to even answer to it. They said “first names were the policy and no exceptions”. My dad explained how his tax dollars paid their salary, and they didn’t hassle me anymore. Thing is, I think they mainly just had troubled pronouncing it…I heard Seen and See-ON (really?) an awful lot. I had to pronounce it like I was from an alien planet. This was all in the first few years of school. As I learned to read, I certainly scarfed up books, devoured words, and learned my name is certainly not spelled as phonetics would dictate in an Anglo-Saxon society. I learned the roots of my name, and then I went off in all kind of directions, like I’m doing now. Suffice to say, I dig words, and names are certainly on my list of things to get right.

Often, I’ll name things as they form in my head. You’re still wondering what this has to do with history and the company name? I’m getting to that. It’s going to come together so brilliantly and rapidly, I’d suggest you don’t even blink until you’re finished reading the rest of this, as you might miss it.  I’m an avid reader of history –though I pick and choose my periods and selections in a rather Zen-like (oftimes random fashion). That’s when I’m casually reading, mind you. When I’m working on something more genre specific or era-specific, I immerse myself in materials, such as when I worked on Iron Dynasty and Echo of Dead Leaves–in the latter case, I went so far as to check out period names of folks in the 20’s and got a nice, big list of Charleston surnames while I was at it. I reread Art of War and lots of good (historical) samurai books too. Some of them are drier than gunpowder to some, but I like absorbing that stuff, and putting my own spin on things. See where I’m going with this? I take REALITY and BLUR it. There’s the origin of the company, and our history lesson today in names, and the use of history as a positive influence in your own work.

And with my words buzzing about your brain, I bid you adieu!

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