We finally welcomed Joslyn Shea Blachford into our world on October 22, 2014 at 1:51 AM. Today, she’s already two weeks old!
She weighed 7 pounds and 2 ounces and was 18 1/4 inches long.
I wanted to write about our process for picking out her name, because I just finished reading Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon. A few weeks ago I read & reviewed one of his other books, Show Your Work. I liked it so much, I hopped on amazon.com and ordered Steal Like an Artist.
In Steal Like an Artist, Austin writes, “What a good artist understands is that nothing comes from nowhere. All creative work builds on what came before. Nothing is completely original….If we’re free from the burden of trying to be completely original, we can stop trying to make something out of nothing, and we can embrace influence instead of running away from it.”
In light of embracing our influences…here is how was picked out the name for our sweet little girl.
Sibling Names Starting with Same Letter
Before the Kardashians and the Duggers were famous for siblings names starting with the same letter, my parents had the same idea. They named their four daughters: Sierra, Savannah, Selestia and Schyler. My aunt and uncle did the same thing, naming my cousins with “Js”.
So, I stole this idea from my aunt, uncle, mom, and dad. Since my family already has plenty of S-names, we decided to use John’s first initial.
(Disclaimer: Maybe by the time kid #2 comes around, we’ll change our minds. I doubt it though.)
A movie heroine
After we established that we were looking for a J-name, John suggested Jocelyn from the movie A Knight’s Tale. The video quality isn’t great, but here’s a scene from the movie with William and Jocelyn.
An art museum
After John suggested the name, I started looking for a spelling. There are about 100 ways to spell Jocelyn. J-o-c-e-l-y-n seems to be the most common.
I first saw the spelling J-o-s-l-y-n on a trip to Omaha to see my friend Lucy this spring. We passed by the Joslyn Art Museum on our way to the mall. I thought I was a neat, simple, and unique. (But, not too unique.)
Someday, I’m planning to take Miss Joslyn to that museum.
I liked that in the book, Austin stresses that when working on a creative project – like naming your baby – we don’t have to be 100% original. It takes away a lot of the pressure when we simply acknowledge that we are “stealing” from a variety of sources. For the first name, we stole from my parents, a movie and an art museum.
For her middle name, we decided to use Shea. This is my middle name. However, I can’t take credit for this middle name idea at all. Pairing Shea with Joslyn was my friend Alex’s idea.
Eventually, I asked my Dad how they picked out the middle name Shea for me. In college, he knew a girl named LaShea, he shortened it to Shea and they gave me my middle name.
(I’d never even heard this story before, there are many places to steal our inspiration from!)
Stealing Like an Artist
Picking out (or rather, stealing) the name for our little girl was a very fun creative process.
As Austin writes, “Every new idea is just a mashup or remix of one or more previous ideas.”
Now that I’ve written it all out, I can count several sources of inspiration for our sweet little girl’s name.
A few more quotes from the book
“Art is theft.” – Pablo Picasso
“The only art I’ll ever study is stuff that I can steal from.” – David Bowie
“What is originality? Undetected plagiarism.” – William Ralph Inge
“It is better to take what does not belong to you than to let it lie around neglected.” – Mark Twain
“Start copying what you love. Copy copy copy copy. At the end of the copy you will find your self.” – Yohji Yamamoto
Here’s two affiliate links to purchase Steal Like an Artist and Show Your Work. If you use these links, this blog will receive some financial support from amazon.com, but your price will be the same. Happy reading!
Another fine story but about a very new person. Congratulations.
Putting a name on one of God’s greatest creations is a memory builder for every parent, and different for each child they have.
Thanks for sharing your thought and creative process and congratulations to you and your growing family.