Set-Up: Like many new parents, my wife/I went through endless lists of possible names for our first child. Our goals at the time were pretty simple:

  • Retro/classic but with a ‘modern’ twist (“Beckett” seemed to fit that mark)
  • Not typical, or at least not expected by most people who’ve heard a lot of baby names
  • Had good/solid nickname possibilities over time (aka “Bex” or “Becks” thus far)
  • No obviously ‘bad’ playground nicknames
  • Fit well with “Long” as a last name

Ultimately we stumbled upon ‘authors’ names one afternoon while driving around Fort Worth, hence the choice to take Samuel Beckett‘s (author of Waiting for Godot) last name as our son’s first (although Mr. Long will often claim that his lifelong love of the Boston Red Sox was the real reason; just don’t tell his wife).

Challenge: With a new kid soon to arrive in our home this coming March, we’re beginning to toss around various possibilities for her/his name. We won’t know the gender for 2 more weeks, so we’re still pretty wide open to suggestions.

  • Offer a literary name — author, character, location, concept, title — that you think would be an interesting boy’s or girl’s name for my wife/me to name our next child.
  • Make sure that it fits the criteria mentioned above (nicknames, retro/modern, etc).
  • Explain why you think it would work, including anything cool trivia-wise about that literary connection.

Length: 5+ sentence


13 responses to “W8, #6: NAME GAME

  1. Cool this is going to be awesome. For a girls name how bout Brook. Got it from the author Max Brooks who wrote World War Z. Its shortened to make it more of a girl’s name, but it fits the criteria and it sounds cute (don’t think about Brooke Shields). Plus maybe you’ll be able to survive the zombie wars to come.

    For a boy’s name thats hard. I can’t think of anything thats literary, but I’m thinking Cliff. Got that name from Clifford Bleszinski, the lead designer for the videogame Gears of War 2. The name sounds cool, and hopefully nobody will know Clifford by the time he’s in PreK. Plus when you have his name you can think about that videogame kid who gave it you(Then get Gears of War 1 +2 for the Xbox 360). Sorry can’t think of any literary names, but these are some good choices that follow your criteria, and sound cool (I hope). The girls in your advisory will probably have better names.


    Mr. Long: I like both Brooks and Brook. Mmm, could be an interesting play with one kid with a “B” already. And I am suddenly transported back to my elementary school in Portland, Maine: Nathan Clifford Elementary. Miss that place, esp. Mrs. Ward’s room for 2nd grade.

  2. Audrey Zizous Long, or Creedon Zizous Long, Durst,


    Mr. Long: I’ll give you credit for this once you complete the entire thing. Share the background on these names from a literary point of view. Thanks!

  3. Student #2 (follow-up)

    ok, so obviously you saw my brainstorming up there. Idk how that happened, guess I just hit the wrong button. Big shocker there, not. 🙂

    But in the end I came up with two choices, one for a girl and one for a boy.

    The first was for a boy: Yolen Naylor Long. It took me FOREVER to put this one together because I tried so many different ways to use them both seperatly and make them sound good with the last name “Long”. So in the end, Yolen, whos first name is Jane became my selection . She is an author of children’s books, fantasy, and science fiction, including Owl Moon, Devil’s Arithmetic, and How do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight? She is also a poet, a teacher of writing and literature, and a reviewer of children’s literature. She has also achieved many great awards for her creative thought and sensitivity.

    The last option was for a girl: Hazel Elizabeth Long. I liked the name because it was kind of different and it just stood out to me. I had to think about his name because I wanted it to be likable, yet beautiful but different altogether, ya know? Except now looking back at it I think it might be too much… but I got the name Hazel from Hazel Edwards. Shes an Australian Melbourne based author who writes books and scripts for children and adults. She has written over 100 books, about 175, including the classic children’s book, There’s a Hippopotamus on our Roof Eating Cake. Also a big quote of hers caught my attention: “Being an author means the opportunity to live more intensively by participant observation in places like Antarctic expeditions, but also by using imagination and asking ‘What if?’ as in the creation of the cake-eating hippo. ‘Stickybeaking’ or asking questions of extraordinary, ordinary people is considered legitimate research for a writer. And sometimes books travel even further than the author, into the minds and actions of readers”
    -Hazel Edwards.


    Mr. Long: You definitely get my respect for coming back with a fantastic follow-up!!!

    Hazel is definitely one of those retro names that I think will have a comeback. Classic and cute. I’m also a big fan of Naylor and can see Nay-Nay as a nickname.

    And I love the quote, too!

  4. I think Ivory is a beautiful name for girl. Last week I ask you the question of that, you said that represent white (The elephant’s tooth). White is a very clear color, and sometimes it means innocent, that is a good color for girl (I like white). You probably can call her”Iv” if you want. And Ivory Long is not bad. And I never hear somebody named that. (I like white sounds weird) 🙂

    And Jack for the boy, that he can be a cartoon character, just kidding. 😛

    I think this name a long times, how about Cloud? I like this name, sounds like a man. I think everybody knows what is cloud (The white things on the sky) 🙂 . It represents the freedom, a lot of the men like freedom, they doesn’t want to stay with his parents or “his wife”. And you think Cloud Long sounds weird?


    Mr. Long: I really like Cloud — unexpected but in a beautiful way. And Ivory has real possibilities, esp. the shortened version you gave.

  5. I googled famous authors and of course got a long list of names. I thought the name “Ashbery” was pretty cool. It is unique and I don’t know of anyone else with that first name. It has the good shortened version “Ash” which was the name of a character in one of my favorite books called “The Giver.” It can be used for either a boy or a girl. The best thing though is that the author John Ashbery graduated from Harvard.


    Mr. Long: Ash or Ashbery is very solid. Definitely fits my criteria…and I’m proud to be a fellow alum of his school, too.

    Oh, and great book!

  6. Well, i found a name that i think is good for a girl. The name is Shelley, and i got from the the author of the Book Frankenstein, Mary Shelley. I don’t think it’s a very common name (i don’t hope so). I also think that Shelley Long sounds ok, doesn’t it?

    For a boy’s name i would say Ronald. I got this name from the author of the book The Hobbit, J(ohn) R(onald) R(eul) Tolkien. I really liked the book and the name goes great with Long. (Ronald Long).

    I hope you like my selection. I am not the best at picking names ;-), but i tried my best…


    Mr. Long: You’re making me excited to read Frankenstein in the 2nd quarter, my friend. Thanks!

    I’m also intrigued by Ruel Long. My father’s name is Russ, so that would be a fun play off his name, too.

  7. Boy name: Jay Long. Very adorable and flows well. However there are no nicknames for this name. This name is after the name Jay Livingston. Jay wrote many famous songs for movies and even won the academy award for best original song 3 times. He wrote the very catchy and famous Christmas song “Silver Bells.”


    Mr. Long: Jay would be a great kid name; he’d ‘fit’ in wherever he went. I also think Jaye would be a cool gal’s name; maybe Jaydan?

  8. Okay this is so exciting, I love helping with names. My mom just had a baby last December so I still have a lot of cool names just floating around

    My little brothers name is Cash, I know it’s pretty funny, but I liked it. I think Cash is a pretty cool name. It has some meaning too, I remember it’s short for Cassius, but none of us even use the name Cassius, it’s just Cash, and it’s latin. I’m not sure about the rest I’ll look it up though… alright here’s what I found: An old Roman family clan name. Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar depicts Caius Cassius as politically ambitious. In modern times, Cassius Clay was the birth name of the heavyweight boxing champion Muhammad Ali.

    Some other cool boy names are Campbell, Jay, Winston, Preston, Chase, and Charlie.

    For girl names I still have a lot, none of them are that unique but I’ve narrowed it down to a few. I’m not sure of their meaning or a story behind them or anything but they’re just some ideas.. Winslow, McCall, Sydney, Chandler, or you could even use a few guy names for a girl, that’s always cool.. like Sam, Andy is kind of different, I dont know, what ever you like!

    I’m so glad this was an assignment… it was by far my favorite. I’m also really glad we could all help out! Thanks Mr. Long


    Mr. Long: You’re welcome. And thank you for offering so many great ideas.

    First, Cash is a great name. Love Johnny Cash and never thought of that as a first name. And Cassius is wonderful; great reminder on Cassius Clay, too! Second, I think Campbell would be a great gal’s name, too. Winslow is also intriguing.

  9. For a boy i believe Orson would be a good fit. Not many people have the name Orson so its unique. It goes good with your last name Orson Long and a famous authors name is. The authors name is Orson Scott Card and he wrote about Six books that i know of but the most famous one was Enders Game. I can’t think of any bad playground nicknames so know one will make funn of him if its a boy.


    Mr. Long: Great name. Loved the book; never thought about the name. Thanks.

  10. For a girl’s name I think Erika would be a neat name. Supposedly there’s an author with the name Erica Jong, but I thought spelling it differently would be interesting. Anyway Erica wrote a books like Fear of Flying, How to Save your Life, and a few others. I haven’t read any of her books, I don’t really plan to, it just happens that there was an author with the name Erica.

    Rou I think would be really interesting for a name. This name came from a singer for this band I listen to. They’ve come out with some pretty good songs, doubt many people know the band or ever heard their songs. They aren’t very well known, but whatever. Just a suggestion for the names.

    balthazar for a boy’s name.


    Mr. Long: My mother’s mother’s name is Erika. Always loved it. And I’m amazed you know of Erica Jong; most impressive. Maybe in a few years — in college? — you’ll stumble upon one of her books, read a few chapters, and become very, very, very surprised by what you find. If you do, definitely come find me. It’d be a striking conversation.

  11. I think that the name Luke would be a solid name for a son and Leia for a girl. These names do have pop culture recognition because they were the names of two of the main characters of StarWars. These names also I think ring well with a last name of Long.


    Mr. Long: Great alliteration, too.

  12. One of the names I came up with is Alexandre Long. This classical version of the modern “Alexander”seems almost like it comes from a wealthy family. The name is from the author Alexandre Dumas, who wrote The Three Musketeers and the Count of Monte Cristo. The nicknames could be Alex, Lex, or Andre. This are names that could be used in everyday conversations and are short and memorable. Also when his friends are playing three musketeers he could say that he came up with the idea.


    Mr. Long: Classic texts, to be sure! Lex is cool on its own, as well.

  13. I think that the name Preston would be a good name for the boy. Not many people have it and I think it fits good as Preston Long. He was also leader in a big assosciation. This name is not to old fashioned but you dont see it alot either, I think this would be a good name to think about.


    Mr. Long: Mmm: “leader in a big association” — not sure I understand. Does this have to do with literature (see directions above)? I do, however, like the name Preston (my next door neighbor, as a matter of fact). I’d like it even more if you made the directions come true. (wink)

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