Name and Place – Open Write 17 July 2021

Ethical ELA “Name and Place” prompt with Mo Daley

My Name

Denise, mon amour,
You are loved in
English or French
or Greek
regardless of
what your name
suggests.

My mother and father
(if he paid any attention),
chose a name that was
popular in the fifties.
The run was short-lived,
not like the
longer-lasting
popularity of Lisa–
the other name on Mom’s
short list,
which did not
make the final cut
on my birth certificate.

My name sake:
Dionysius–
Greek god of wine,
and all things wine-ish–
like the grape harvest
and winemaking.
It doesn’t stop there though.
Dionysius was busy.
He is also the
god of fertility,
orchards and fruit,
vegetation,
drunkenness
insanity,
chaos
ritual madness,
ecstasy,
festivals,
parties
and the
theater.

I don’t think my mom
chose Denise because she needed
a daughter named after a Greek
god with a French twist.
There was no familial
or cultural ribbon
tying a bow on this name.

Denise was
a loved
little one
needing a name,
the sixth in a home
full of kids needing
names.

Today I live in a land
where my name was
mostly unknown before
I arrived.
I answer to Denise,
as well as
Dennis,
Denies,
Deeneez
and anything
similar.
Still loved.

4 thoughts on “Name and Place – Open Write 17 July 2021

  1. I love this response. The connection to the Greek God is interesting as is the little fact about your large family. Name research has always been something I’ve enjoyed doing with kids. When I taught 3rd grade, we started the year with it. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Thank you, Margaret, for reading. I missed having you participate today in Ethical ELA. I love that you did name research with third graders. How fun is that!

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