Dear seafarer: Girl atlas

Dear Seafarer,

I decided to start a blog again. I sometimes have so many thoughts streaming through me. They clog up the drainpipes of my mind. Perhaps writing will ease the pain. But I had some trouble initially naming it!

I take blog-naming seriously. A little too seriously. I wanted something that would set the tone of the blog. It had to be intuitively engaging; the kind of name that called out to you, clicked within your memory, or felt good on your tongue.

I wanted to call it “moratorium“, which is one of four states of identity crisis, coined by James Marcia. It denotes an individual who is actively searching for an identity, but has yet to make a commitment.

It certainly sounds like me, I thought. I loved it.

Then I found out the name was taken, and I had to move on. On second thought, it reminded me a little of “crematorium”. Perhaps that would not do.

I thought of “ai-rahn“, which is my Chinese name. But I didn’t really want to overlap my writing blog’s name with my art blog. I had to pick another one.

I thought of the name “sondering“, which is based off the word, “sonder“.

n. the realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own—populated with their own ambitions, friends, routines, worries and inherited craziness—an epic story that continues invisibly around you like an anthill sprawling deep underground, with elaborate passageways to thousands of other lives that you’ll never know existed, in which you might appear only once, as an extra sipping coffee in the background, as a blur of traffic passing on the highway, as a lighted window at dusk.

I have often felt like a speck of dust in a constellation of people, each with their own extended stories; a past, a present, and a future. I thought it would be a rather dreamy name, something which was a cross between “pondering” and “wandering”. It evoked, to me, images of traffic, blurring into electric-like lines within the night. But something about the name “sondering” reminded me of the word “sonorous”, and it made me think about nostrils, although the meaning has nothing to do with it (don’t ask).

So that was scrapped.

I finally stuck with “girl-atlas”, because I like how the name feels crisp. When I think of “atlas” I almost always think of “axis”, both of which are beautiful names to pronounce, at least in my mind. They make me think of white coral-shaped bones. But then “atlas” could also refer to “maps”, and that could be somewhat relevant.

My thought process was something like this:

Brain -> looks like a maze -> mind?  -> maps -> atlas 

I added a “girl” in front, because I am biologically female, last them I checked. And they both click together, adding a little pizazz to the name.

And that was how this blog’s name came to be.

If I kept writing, perhaps it would seem as if I were mapping out my thoughts, like some strange cartographer of the mind. Discard your compasses, they are of no use here.

Let’s start unfolding this atlas.


Take care, Seafarer.