A to Z Reflections 2017

This was my sixth year participating in the A to Z Challenge, and my fourth year doing it with two blogs. I began doing it on this, my secondary blog, in 2014. Just like last year, I also waited until this March to write my posts here, though I’d begun making up a list of potential names well in advance.

A lot of cool names on my list were unable to be used, due to a lack of substantial information and artistic representations. I only violated this rule on the V day, when I featured nine stubs instead of two complete profiles.

Names considered but discarded included Iynx, Myrina, Fulgora, Frijjō, Ucalegon, Vanth, Gorgophone, Lampsace, Wachilda, Wudga, Kalchas, Helenus, Hecuba, Asterion, Wilbreth, and Ino.

Issues encountered:

Comment moderation! I’m not talking about bloggers who moderate initial comments, or moderate all comments on hot-button issue blogs. I’m talking about bloggers who moderate every single comment for no reason!

If I take the time to write a thoughtful, respectful, intelligent comment, I’m not going to be very happy to return on another visit and see it’s still lost in moderation. Why did I waste my time writing that comment if you don’t get around to reading and approving your own comments until several days or weeks have passed?

I’m highly unlikely to return to such a blog. #sorrynotsorry

Lack of hyperlinking. A LOT of people just left their URLs in the daily link-up posts. While it doesn’t take hours to copy and paste it into a new tab or window, it’s still not as instantaneous as HTML coding it into a hyperlink.

The lack of a master list was a bit cumbersome. While there were certainly issues with the list, I liked how it contained all the blogs in one place. It took more time to trawl through the comments section of each daily post. The extra space taken up by each comment could’ve been used for several additional links under the old system.

I’m a big fan of time and motion study, pioneered by Frederick Winslow Taylor and Frank and Lillian Gilbreth. It conserves the amount of time and work motions used to perform tasks. Sure, it didn’t take that much longer to scroll through 26 different comment sections, open each link or C&P each URL into a new tab, and link up myself, but the time spent doing that could’ve been used towards visiting a few more blogs each day. Over 26 days, those additional minutes really add up.

I also liked having the master list so I could start going through it right after sign-ups started. I began by visiting those closest to me, and got to know a lot of new blogs in advance. Throughout April, I became familiar with who was where in the list, and knew which links I’d visited or hadn’t explored yet by their hyperlink color. It was also a helpful reference for catching up in the months after the Challenge.

If there won’t be a master list from now on, a happy medium solution would be a service like Inlinkz. Some of the weekly bloghops I’ve participated in use that or a similar linking service. All you have to do is refresh it to see newer additions.

I do feel like the lack of a master list hurt those of us who weren’t early birds. We don’t all have the same sleep, work, or school schedule, or might not be able to get on a computer until late in the day, after almost everyone has already passed through. With a master list, we could peruse it at our leisure, and other bloggers would’ve found us more easily.

Post recap:

Ariadne and Argos (22 views)
Busiris and Bremusa (16 views)
Chronos and Circe (27 views)
Danaë and Diomedes (11 views)
Eurotas ans Eos (7 views)
Faunus and Frigg (16 views)
Ganymede and Gaia (12 views)
Hecate and Hypnos (16 views)
Ixion and Io (14 views)
Jocasta and Jason (17 views)
Klytemnestra and Kronos (20 views)
Laërtes and Leto (8 views)
Mnemosyne and Memnon (14 views)
Nestor and Nike (11 views)
Orithyia and Orestes (11 views)
Priapus and Polyxena (12 views)
Quiritis and Quirinus (12 views)
Rhadamanthus and Rhea (9 views)
Semele and Silenus (13 views)
Tantalus and Tethys (10 views)
Urania and Uranus (6 views)
Voluptas, Vervactor, Viduus, Viriplaca, Verminus, Venilia, Vagitanus, Vitumnus, and Volutina (11 views)
Wayland the Smith and Whaitiri (12 views)
Xanthos and Xenokleia (9 views)
Yoŭnik and Yara (9 views)
Zethos and Zeuxippe (9 views)

Soulful, spirited names

Continuing with the October theme of Halloween-related names, these are some names whose meanings contain the element “soul” or “spirit.” Before Halloween became all about costumes, ghost stories, and trick-or-treating, it was All Souls’ Day and All Hallows’ Eve. I do believe the veil between the worlds is at its thinnest on that day, with the souls of the departed closer to us than at any other time.

Unisex:

Jing can mean “spirit, essence” in Chinese.

Ling can mean “soul/spirit” in Chinese.

Xinyi is a Chinese name which can be composed of the elements xin (soul, heart, mind) and yi (harmony, joy).

Male:

Akhenaton possibly means “spirit of Aton” in Ancient Egyptian. Aton, which means “solar disc,” was an Egyptian sun god. Pharaoh Akhenaton believed Aton was the only god, and changed his name from Amenhotop IV to honor Aton.

Chetan means “soul, conscious, visible” in Sanskrit.

Chí means “spirit, will” in Vietnamese.

Dušan means “spirit, soul” in Czech, Slovakian, Slovenian, Macedonian, Serbian, and Croatian. The base nickname form is Duško.

Ercan is a Turkish name derived from the elements er (brave man) and can (soul, life).

Euthymius is the Latinized form of the Greek Euthymios, which means “in good spirits.”

Hugh is an English name derived from the Old Germanic word hug, “heart, mind, spirit.”

Hugleikr is an Old Norse name derived from the elements hugr (heart, mind, spirit) and leikr (play).

Imamu means “spiritual leader” in Swahili.

Nurzhan means “light soul” in Kazakh.

Raijin means “thunder spirit” or “thunder god” in Japanese. He was the god of storms and thunder. A variant spelling is Raiden.

Ruh means “spirit” in Arabic.

Spyridon, or Spiridon, is a Greek and Slavic name which either means “spirit” (from the Latin word spiritus) or “basket” (from the Greek word spyridion). Greek diminutives are Spiros, Spiro, Spyro, and Spyros. The Spanish form is Espiridión. One of my favoritest secondary characters in my Russian historicals is a priest named Father Spiridon.

Female:

Alma means “soul” in Spanish. The name is also used in Italian and English. It was rarely used before the 1854 Battle of Alma during the Crimean War. In spite of the Spanish meaning, it’s believed the name was more inspired by the Latin word almus, “nourishing.”

Anima means “spirit, soul” in Latin. This is also the name of the feminine aspect of one’s true inner self in Jungian psychology.

Aruzhan means “beautiful soul” in Kazakh.

Cansu is a Turkish name composed of the elements can (life, soul) and su (water).

Dušana is the feminine form of Dušan. Nickname forms include Dušanka and Dušica.

Enid means “soul” or “life” in Welsh.

Janan means “soul” or “heart” in Arabic.

Kokoro can mean “soul, heart, mind” in Japanese.

Linh means “soul, spirit” in Vietnamese.

Neshama means “soul” in Hebrew.

Psyche means “the soul” in Greek, derived from psycho, “to breathe.”

Spyridoula is the feminine form of Spyridon.

Tímea is a Hungarian name which was created by famous novelist Mór Jókai in his 1873 book The Golden Man. It was based on the Greek word euthymia, “good spirits, cheerfulness.” I have a secondary character by this name.

Nocturnal names

Since I absolutely adore Halloween and everything about it, I’m going to be posting some lists of names with a Halloween feel. Let’s start with names whose meanings relate to night.

Male:

Erebus is the Latinized form of Erebos, which means “nether darkness” in Greek.

Nishant means “night’s end, dawn” in Sanskrit.

Orpheus may mean “the darkness of night” in Greek, derived from orphne (night).

Otieno means “born at night” in Luo, a Nilotic language spoken in Kenya and Tanzania.

Rajnish means “lord of the night” in Sanskrit.

Female:

Asra means “travel at night” in Arabic.

Avital means “my father is the night dew” in Hebrew.

Chausiku means “born at night” in Swahili.

Isra means “nocturnal journey” in Arabic.

Layla means “night” in Arabic. Spelling variations are Laila and Leila. The name also appears in Persian (LeylaLeila), Bosnian (Lejla), Azeri (Leyla), Georgian (Leila), and Turkish (Leyla).

Lilith means “of the night,” derived from the Akkadian lilitu. I’m sure we’re all familiar with the apocryphal tales of Adam’s first wife Lilith, who was banished because she refused to be a meek, submissive woman.

Midnight

Miyako can mean “beautiful night child” in Japanese.

Nisha means “night” in Sanskrit.

Nyx means “night” in Greek, after the goddess of night.

Fiery names

Without a doubt, the most popular (indeed, oversaturated) fire-themed name in the Anglophone world currently is Aidan and its 101 kreatyv spylyngz. It comes from the old Irish name Áedán, a diminutive of Áed (a name which later evolved into Aodh, pronounced AY or EE). However, there are a number of other fire-themed names one might consider.

Unisex:

Azar means “fire” in Persian.

Keahi means “the fire” in Hawaiian.

Male:

Agni means “fire” in Sanskrit, after the Hindu god of fire.

Aldebrand means “old fire” or “old sword” in Ancient Germanic.

Aldobrandido is a Medieval Italian form of Aldebrand.

Aliprand means “other/foreign fire” or “other/foreign sword” in Ancient Germanic.

Cináed means “born of fire” in Gaelic.

Conleth is a modern Irish form of Conláed, which possibly means “chaste fire.”

Fintan means “white fire” or “white bull” in Irish.

Ignatius is a Latin name derived from the family name Egnatius, which was a Etruscan name of unknown origin. The spelling was changed to resemble the Latin word ignis, “fire” (whose striking similarity to the Sanskrit agni reminds us how much more similar Sanskrit is to the European side of the Indo–European language family than we often assume).

Other forms of the name include Ignace (French), Ignatz (German), Ignatiy (Russian), Iñaki (Basque), Ignasi (Catalan), Ignaas (Dutch), Ignác (Hungarian and Czech), Ignazio (Italian), Ignacy (Polish), Ignas (Lithuanian), Inácio (Portuguese), Ignacio (Spanish), and Ignas/Ignacij (Slovenian).

Ognyan means “fiery” in Bulgarian.

Plamen means “fire, flame” in Serbian and Bulgarian. I have a secondary character by this name.

Pyrrhus is the Latinized form of the Greek Pyrros, which means “flame-colored, red.” Another form of the name is Pyrrhos.

Yoash means “fire of God” or “God has given” in Hebrew.

Female:

Fajra means “fiery” in Esperanto.

Fiammetta means “little flame” in Italian. This is the name of one of the seven women in the brigata of The Decameron.

Hestia means “fireside, hearth” in Greek, after the goddess of the hearth and domestic activity.

Ignatia is the feminine form of Ignatius. Other forms are Ignacia (Spanish) and Ignacja (Polish).

Nina means “fire” in Quechua, an indigenous language mostly spoken in the Andes Mountains of South America. This isn’t to be confused with the European and Georgian name Nina, which has a completely different etymology and history.

Seraphina is an English, German, and Latin name meaning “fiery ones,” in reference to the Seraphim angels. Other forms include Serafina (Italian, Polish, Spanish, Portuguese, and Hebrew), Serafima (Russian and Macedonian), and Séraphine (French).

Shula means “flame” in Arabic. The Turkish form is Şule.

Ugnė means “fire” in Lithuanian.

Dawn names

The name Dawn entered the U.S. Top 100 in 1956, at #92, and rose steadily every year, reaching its peak of popularity at #14 in 1971. The name remained in the Top 100 until 1982, though it had been on a steady downward decline in popularity for awhile. In 1983, it was down to #106, and fell lower and lower, until its final year on the Top 1000, 2000, when it was #912. It hasn’t charted since.

If you feel like Dawn is a bit too dated for your liking, there are still some lovely names with the same meaning, or with the word “dawn” in their meaning.

Unisex:

Li can mean “black, dawn” in Chinese.

Shachar is Hebrew.

Female:

Alba is Italian, Spanish, and Catalan. This isn’t to be confused with the Latin name Alba, which means “white, bright.”

Aurora is Latin in origin, and now used in English, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, German, Finnish, Romanian, Polish, and the Scandinavian languages. It came into general usage during the Renaissance.

Aušra is Lithuanian.

Ayelet means “gazelle” in Hebrew, though it also refers to the morning star, called ayelet hashachar (gazelle of dawn).

Eos is Greek, the name of the goddess of dawn. It reminds me of the first line of Volume II of The GULAG Archipelago, “Rosy-fingered Eos, mentioned so often in Homer and called Aurora by the Romans, caressed, too, with those fingers the first early morning of the Archipelago.” It’s such a beautiful, poetic way to speak about something so horrific.

Fajr is Arabic.

Fioralba is Italian, roughly meaning “dawn flower” or “flower of dawn.”

Gry is Norwegian, Swedish, and Danish. I wouldn’t recommend using this in an Anglophone country.

Gwawr is Welsh.

Hajnal, or Hajnalka, is Hungarian. I have a character by this name.

Roxana is the Latin form of Roxane, which is in turn the Greek form of the original Persian name Roshanak, meaning “bright” or “dawn.” Ruxandra is the Romanian form, Rossana is Italian, Roxanne is French, Rosana is Portuguese, Roxána is Hungarian, and Roksana is Russian and Polish.

Sahar is Persian and Arabic.

Usha is Sanskrit, the name of the goddess of dawn.

Zora is the word for dawn in the West and South Slavic languages (Czech, Slovakian, Slovenian, Bulgarian, Macedonian, Serbian, Croatian).

Zoraida is a Spanish name of Arabic origin, with the possible meaning “dawn” or “enchanting.”

Male:

Agim is Albanian.

Altan means “red dawn” in Turkish.

Koit is Estonian, and also the name of a beautiful composition by the great composer Heino Eller (7 March 1887–16 June 1970).

Nishant is Sanskrit.

Taner means “born at dawn” in Turkish, and not pronounced the same way as the rather trendy English name Tanner.

Zoran is the male form of Zora, also used in the West and South Slavic languages.