Friday, May 22, 2015
The Wonderful Idea
I have a lot of ideas that I share with Paul, and they are sort of like horses trotting out of the corral, and he leans on the fence and watches them go, and makes non-committal comments occasionally, then answers his phone and orders tags for the 5-grain Ben is bagging tomorrow.
Other times he shocks me by randomly grabbing a particular horse, leaping on its back, and riding it as far as it will go.
Such as when we were in Kenya, driving home from school in that dusty white Peugeot, and I said offhandedly, "Maybe we should adopt Steven."
Which led through about 9 months and 50 miracles, and then Steven was really our son.
Recently we had an old machine shed at the warehouse torn down, and we were thinking about projects and salvageable materials and big lovely slabs of weathered wood, and I said, dreamily, knowing it was an idea as far off and unreachable as the moon, "I would love to have a little writing cabin by the creek."
By happy coincidence this was suggested after Paul had decided to end his teaching career, and suddenly he realized that he might actually have some TIME, that elusive commodity missing for the last 20 years, and we had all these cool old boards, and he loves to make things with wood AND--oh happy prospect--a project like this could cover at least a year's worth of Valentine's Day, Mother's Day, birthday, anniversary, and Christmas, if he played it right.
So I have been browsing Pinterest and eagerly sketching on graph paper, and Paul has been planning and measuring.
I needed a file for my ideas, and then I needed a name to write on the file.
"Writing Cabin" was kind of dull. It needed an actual NAME, like they used to do in England, or in the Anne of Green Gables books. Like Green Gables. Or Whispering Winds.
I went online and discovered that there are actual websites for generating names of people and places. Most of these are for gamers ("Ebonshield" "Slydrift" ) but they're also for writers and people who want an actual name for a real place. One such site promised to help you name a real house or building, which is what I wanted. It lavishly proclaimed that it could generate over 1 trillion names!!!
All right then. I clicked.
First I needed to give the generator some clues, such as colors, foliage, natural features, and type of building. I chose "oak" for the foliage, "creek" for the natural feature, and "cabin" for the type of building.
And clicked, imagining a long list of tasteful and imaginative names. Gears ratcheted and motors whirred, and the result popped up before me.
Yes. One result. In bold letters. The eagerly awaited name.
"OAK CREEK CABIN"
Sometimes, that is how my life goes.
So then, since there is lots of hawthorn along the creek, Paul suggested Hawthorn Cottage, with the double meaning of the plant and also suggesting Nathaniel Hawthorne, which is impressively literary of him, but Jenny said it would be confusing, and I agreed. I asked if it would hurt his feelings if I didn't use his idea, since I worry about these things. He said no.
I thought we should invoke the oaks, which led me to the charming but not too cutesy, I hope, Acorn Cottage. 12 hours later, I still lean toward this one.
Maybe our minds are better name generators than any braggy website.
Meanwhile, I can't explain how thrilled and amazed I am at the prospect of an actual rustic little cabin to write in, and to escape to on summer nights when the house is never silent, and for Jenny to have slumber parties in, and to use for private conversations with people who need a cup of tea and a listening ear.
Let us hope that Paul can stay on this horse despite harvest, preaching, and all the other distractions potentially calling him off the trail.
Quote of the Day:
[So there was this scary item in the news, where someone died of botulism from potato salad at a potluck.]
Me: The Poisonous Potluck. That would be a great name for a Mennonite novel.
Jenny: Yes, except some Mennonites don't believe in calling them potlucks. The Poisonous Carry-In doesn't sound as good. Or The Poisonous Fellowship Meal.