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  • Monique Sliedrecht

On Naming

Updated: Apr 25, 2019




I was thinking about how challenging it is to remember names. How, for some reason, when names are exchanged on that first meeting, the name seems to go in one ear and out the other, and unless we make a point of trying to remember, it’s just going to drift into the ether of namedom (or perhaps I should only speak for myself!). It can get to the point of being embarrassing if one has to ask on the third meeting.


The other day I met someone in the kitchen along from my studio. We exchanged names while making coffee and near the end of our conversation I asked her again what her name was - ‘just to reinforce it in my mind,’ I said.

‘Pat,’ she replied.

Pat…. I repeated quietly to myself…. How difficult can that be to remember?


A week later we met at an exhibition opening. We both looked at each other and said at the same time:

‘Pat’!

‘Monique’!

We both smiled, really chuffed with ourselves, and I probably have that reinforced in my mind now for the next times. (Here’s hoping, anyway.)


A friend of mine has a number of methods for remembering names when initially introduced to someone - trusted and true methods that work for him. He says that people really value being remembered, and one way that shows them they are is if we can call them by name. I agree!


I think about all the living things on earth that are given their unique name. This goes all the way back to the old story of Adam naming the animals. This fascinating challenge and privilege for humanity continues in the development and discovery of new species of flora and fauna every year.


Being able to name is a step towards caring. How many of us know the name of the bush or tree just outside our front door? And if we did, if we noticed and named, how would that change our perception of those living things immediately around us? How would that change our view of the world?


I stepped outside this morning and was able to speak out the name of the new blossoms near the walkway by the drive.

Wild Yellow Primrose.

Or Primula Vulgaris.

It was such a delight to see those lovely yellow flowers low down in the grass.


'Hello Primrose,' I said.


'Hi Monique.'



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