Tuesday, August 30, 2011

I Had to Call it Something, and "Google" Was Taken

“Why does Brian call this thing Unintimidated by Convention?” In case you’re obsessed with that question, I’ll explain…

Before starting my blog I thought very long and hard about what to name it, devoting at least two hours to the matter. I looked to one of my recent writer’s notebooks for inspiration and found some things I’d jotted down about Homer and Langley, the latest novel from E. L. Doctorow. In this re-imagining of the lives of Harlem recluses Homer and Langley Collyer, Doctorow crafts many passages of pure genius.

My favorite short phrase from the book is “cats on patrol,” which refers to exactly what you’d think. The only trouble is this would make no sense as a blog title.

I was captivated and amused by a page-long passage on the paradox that can result from tying one’s happiness to that of another person. But my blog isn’t about relationships, and a page-long title might be a bit much. (I mean, this isn’t a Fiona Apple album.)

Then it hit me. “Unintimidated by convention” is a phrase Doctorow uses to describe the Collyer brothers, stubborn, fiercely independent, and thrifty-to-a-fault pathological hoarders. I do not wish to live anything like they did (no reasonable person would). But there was something about their attitudes as portrayed by Doctorow that I strongly identify with. I’d found my title.

In a future post, I’ll probably list some reasons I consider myself unintimidated by convention.


With the problem of naming my blog out of the way, all I lack is a subtitle for it—you know, a little tag line that gives a nutshell description of me or suggests the blog’s focus. I brainstormed some good possibilities, but someone has beaten me to each of them. Here’s a list of subtitles I could have used if they weren’t already taken:

- Huge in Europe

- Two people shy of a ménage a trois

- Winner of the Pulitzer Prize

New Zealand’s fourth most popular folk-parody duo

- From the office of the President of the United States of America

- Now with 50% less saturated fat

That’s about all I’ve come up with so far. If anyone has an original idea, I’d love to hear it. Please comment below.

~ Edit: There's now a subtitle, which you can see if you scroll to the top of the page. I have a standing invitation for Stale Thinking to meet me by the flagpole at noon, and I'm gonna work that sucker over! (21 September 2011) ~

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