Thursday, January 13, 2011
What's in a Name? Hmmm...
So, I was writing a note to a yoga teacher friend yesterday and signed it - as I realized I had many times with my yoga friends - "Namaste, y'all". It's a silly little twist on the salutation used by many folks, from yogis to new agers, "Namaste", which loosely means, "the _______ in me bows to the _______ in you." Fill in that blank with any number of positive notions: divine, light, god, goodness, spirit, etc.
Anyway, it hit me that "Namaste, Y'all" was a great title for this blog, perhaps more so than "Barefoot Zen". The notion with both was the same, an invitation to something with implications of wellness, creativity, a dash of spirituality, but with the implication that it would be casual and playful. "Zen" or "Namaste" tackle the first criteria nicely, and "Barefoot" or "Y'all" seem to cover the latter.
"Namaste Y'all", as it turns out is the name of a website that promotes, you guessed it, yoga studios in the Southeast. A little homework showed me that "Barefoot Zen" is actually an old book about kung-fu. There's really nothing new under the rainbow, is there? Sigh.
Anyway, "Namaste, Y'all" seems a tad less austere, so while I'm locked into this blog address, for now I am thinking the new title is worth trying out. I'm not the world's smartest branding person, obviously. When my former business partner named her company '7 Course Theater' some twenty years ago, I didn't voice how much I hated the name. Then when I shared ownership of it with her, we already had a strong presence and a name change could cost us business. When she quit in 2001, I had my chance to change names, and the fear of being unfindable led me to keep the first part of the moniker, but change 'Theater' to the more appropriate 'Communications'. In retrospect, I'd love to have changed the whole name. I can't tell you how often I get calls for dinner theater, restaurant supplies or just an inquiry as to what the soup of the day is.
In 2005, when I was preparing to publish "Welcome to Storyville", I communicated with Warren Zevon's son, Jordan. He's a very nice guy who is very protective of his dad's legacy. I asked if I could have permission to use a line from Warren's song "Mutineer" in one of my pieces, and he wanted to charge me $500 to do so. Given my anticipated royalties on the book as a whole, I opted to pass on using the line. It was a good call. But, I am not interested in receiving a 'cease and desist' over a blog title, so things like this do give me pause.
But I also don't see this little experiment being one that will send a shockwave through the blog-o-sphere, given my readership of approximately three dozen people. "Namaste" might scare some conservative readers that fear it's a word that threatens their faith, but dispelling that closed-minded belief is one of the reasons for this blog anyway. Besides, all the "Barefoot" nomenclature just leads to people being afraid I'm going to post more pictures of my Vibram Five Fingers running shoes or my snake bite. Honestly, the snake bite is much less scary looking to most.
So, I'm gonna sit with this title for a while and see how it feels. If I don't like it, I may switch back. This is a very tiny readership of friends right now, being nice enough to follow me on a journey. If this gains traction in any form or fashion, I'll lock in on a decision. In the meantime, I am curious as to your thoughts on the matter. Does either title click with you? Should I have just reincorporated "Enjoy Every Sandwich", which has a bit of a Zen vibe to it, though not much on the wellness angle? (Depending on what kind of sandwich it is, I guess.)
Feel free to share your thoughts. In the meantime...