Friday, February 25, 2011

Day 2: Meaning of My Blog Name

Since before my memory began recording, back in the days when I must've learned chess and the difference between the first and second person pronouns (to hear my mom tell it), there has been a heavy blue poetry anthology on my mother's bookshelf. It includes such classics as "Paul Revere's Ride" and "The Tale of Custard the Dragon." My favorite page, however, is marked by a small, rectangular scrap of blank white paper. On it is an obscure poem called "Cradle Song." I can still recite it, though I haven't seen a copy of it in many, many years.

In fact, the last time I read it was probably in sixth grade. I was in a gifted class. It was supposed to replace our English class, but since our teacher had a doctorate in art, we mostly ended up having movie marathons and making brooches out of puzzle pieces and playing with puppies, ducks, and turtles. It was pretty much the best class ever, unless you wanted to learn something. We had to recite lines from poetry to get into the classroom. She would stand in front of the door like the Fat Lady, refusing us entry until we successfully regurgitated the current password. Those who had already made it in frequently mouthed it from behind her back to those still stuck outside. The first one we ever had was the first few lines from "Daffodils" by William Wordsworth. I went above and beyond and eventually memorized the whole thing, but that is neither here nor there.

Our teacher, whom we all lovingly referred to as a hobbit because of her small stature and her penchant for wearing things like slippers shaped like bear feet, must have decided that turnabout was fair play. One day she asked us to bring in our favorite poems. Naturally, I brought in that poem which had been a part of me as long as I had been aware of the very concept of me.

From groves of spice,
O’er fields of rice,
Athwart the lotus-stream,
I bring for you,
Aglint with dew,
A little lovely dream.

Sweet, shut your eyes,
The wild fire-flies
Dance through the fairy neem;
From the poppy-bole
For you I stole
A little lovely dream.

Dear eyes, good night,
In golden light
The stars around you gleam;
On you I Press
With soft caress
A little lovely dream.

Now, our teacher was the sort to drag us all along on a knowledge adventure anytime we encountered anything that anybody felt inclined to ask a question about. With my poem, I unwittingly unleashed the very contents of Pandora's Box. Okay, I may be exaggerating a wee bit.

However it happened, we started dismembering her shelves in a quest to figure out what the dickens a "fairy neem" or a "poppy-bole" was. This was back before the advent or popularization of Wikipedia, which proves most unhelpful on either subject anyway. Our search eventually brought us to something called a fairy ring.

A fairy ring is a naturally occurring ring of mushrooms, which will continue to grow in diameter every passing year because of the way the fungus spreads. In days of yore and superstition, these rings were thought to be the homes of fairies. People believed that if you stepped into the ring, you would be trapped in the world of the fairies Rip Van Winkle-style.

Something about that idea enchanted me. I was starting to get pretty heavy into the online art scene back then, and I got this crazy notion into my head that if I ever had my own web domain name it would be something to do with fairy rings.

Drive your DeLorean forward about seven years. Football season of my freshman year in college. My friend and I would get on Facebook after we got home from our respective games (BYU for him, ASU for me), and we would chat about football. Eventually chatting about football led to chatting about every other topic in the known universe. When he got a blog, I thought it looked fun. I made one, too.

This blog was originally called Adventures of an Austenite, but after a short while I felt like that was trapping me in some way. True, I'm a hardcore Austenite, but that particular title irked me something fierce. One day, something reminded me of that dear old concept of fairy rings, and I knew that I wanted it to be my livery. For some reason now lost to time, I didn't end up using the actual term "fairy ring." Instead, I landed on the Middle English word "elferingewort."

There was a bit of a kerfuffle with my posts showing up in people's feeds right after I changed the URL, but it was all sorted out in good time. Now I use the name on other sites, as well.

Listening to: Facebook chat
Reading: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J. K. Rowling

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