I just ran across an article about a judge in New Zealand making a child a ward of the court in order to change her name. It seems her parents had named her Talula does the Hula from Hawaii. Seriously. That was the girl's name-- a name, it turns out, she was so embarrassed about that she told her friends to call her "K." In the article, the judge cited other "insane" names that parents in New Zealand had saddled their children with-- including Sex Fruit, Yeah Detroit, Fish and Chips, Number 16 Bus Shelter and Violence, just to name a few.
So this got me thinking-- I love unusual names as much as the next person, but how much is too much? As an English professor, I stand in the front of my classroom every year and struggle to pronounce my students' names without embarassing them or myself. I'm also married to an Egyptian who wanted to name our first child Aswid-- needless to say, we compromised on Adam, which wasn't as unusal as I might have liked but will definitely save my child a huge amount of trauma in his junior high locker room.
So to make up for my children's rather normal names-- if you teach long enough, you learn that torturing your child with a name like Sex Fruit is just asking for self-esteem issues later in life-- and the fact that my husband and I have not once seen eye to eye and therefore had to compromise, I let my imagination run wild when I name my characters. Not New Zealand wild, but still, a little crazier than Adam. I have Desiree and Irisi, Genevieve and Dakota, Rio and Rafael-- just to name a few. And the thing I love most about naming my characters is crafting a personality that really fits the name I've chosen-- something parents can only guess at when they name their children.
So, what are your favorite names? Have you used them-- on your characters or your children-- or are they just there, floating in the back of your mind never to see the light of day?