When young I identified with the sound of my own name, Sarah–common enough, surely, but particularly mine. Sarah signified me tonally, instinctually and in a multiply evocative array of associations accruing over time. In those early years I felt myself called into existence by the very word, owned by pronunciation, as much possessed by as possessed of a two-beat fluid melody of consonants and vowels.


As a girl, I liked to play with names on notebook paper– a typical schoolgirl rite of passage, linking your first name with last of the love object and concocting fanciful monikers for offspring unborn, nicking them this way and that in elaborate slavic panoply. Some girls keep running lists of baby names down through the years. Some never outgrow a fundamental preoccupation with the nominative.


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