I spent months trying to come up with a name for my new site. To be perfectly honest, namestorming ate up a lot of the energies I could have better used creating content. It’s just a name, after all. But after about a hundred and ten ideas, we have The Eleventyone Blog. Here’s eleven reasons why:
1. There’s a little bit of poetry in it. Say it out loud: eleventyone. It’s got a nice rhythm to it, a rise and a fall. Like the sound of tires on the open road, or maybe a train in the distance. Eleventyone eleventyone eleventyone. Everybody loves the sound of a train in the distance. I can hear it in the sing-song style of a child’s game and also as a battle cry. Then again, it’s been looping in my head for longer than is probably good for me.
2. Eleventyone rings to rule them all. Tolkien fans will spot the reference a mile away, but allow me to spell it out. The Lord of the Rings trilogy opens on the day of Bilbo Baggin’s eleventyfirst birthday. It is a day of celebration and storytelling, of setting out on new adventures. It is also a day for facing hard truths and giving up things that we’re better off without, even if they have a hold on us. I’m hoping these things will apply to this blog as well.
3. There’s magic in it. Beyond the Tolkien reference and the poetry, there’s a hint of magic in the word eleventyone. Maybe because it sounds archaic, and the archaic and the arcane overlap. Plus, there’s the numerological side of things. Not that I put much stock in numerology, but if any number has mystical connotations, 111 has got to be a candidate. It’s a trinity of ones, and we all know three is the magic number.
4. It lends itself to these lists of eleven. The name came first but the idea for these lists soon followed. I’ve never really used the format before but I realized I really enjoy reading lists on other blogs so I thought I’d try my hand at them. So far, I like having a target to hit but also a limit not to exceed. I find it keeps me focused while making me stretch for that next reason. The down side is that writing each new item feels like starting from zero, like now:
5. It keeps things wide open. This was actually a reason against Eleventyone at first. I was searching for the perfect name to encapsulate exactly what I was going to do on this site. But I came to realize that was just perfectionism locking me up, especially because I’m not sure of all the things I want this blog to be, and to get incredibly specific right from the beginning closes off the potential for growth. An element of the arbitrary allows room for a little whimsy and imagination. It should keep me from taking things too seriously.
6. A touch of the arbitrary keeps the creative juices flowing. We live in a world ruled by numbers: The date, the time, the temperature, the unemployment rate, the S&P 500. Your height, weight, date of birth, social security number. And there’s: what do you make, what’s in the bank, what do you owe? I even quantify my writing: how many words, how many pages, how many posts. A nonsense number like eleventyone helps me break out of this cycle and remember there are some things we can’t put a number on. When I catch myself thinking “if only I made an extra 5k a year” or “one more episode is only 24 minutes” interjecting “eleventyone” helps me shift my focus from quantity to quality.
7. These amps go to eleventyone. One of the best remembered moments of the movie This Is Spinal Tap is when Nigel shows the director his prized amp that goes to eleven. It’s clear that this is ridiculous and arbitrary, but dammit, sometimes we need that extra push over the cliff. At least I do. It may be silly, but on this site I’m trying to go one louder.
8. I still liked it after I slept on it. Sounds silly, I know, but there were quite a few names I got excited about when I had the idea for them, but their appeal faded over a day or two. Some of them had connotations I didn’t consider, some of them were too limited or made promises I wouldn’t keep, others were just dumb. I settled on Doyle’s Words for a few days after I’d gone through two pages of loose leaf covered in rejected names and had all but given up. Then I realized as a url it could read as Doyle Swords, and for one night I thought that might be cool. In the light of day I thought better of it. Always sleep on big decisions when you get the chance.
9. The internet is running out of names. Ok, so there are still close to infinite possibilities and creative site names are coming out all the time, but think up a cool url right now and see if it isn’t already taken. A handful of potential addresses turned out to be taken, further hurting my confidence in my creativity as the naming process dragged on. The sad thing is, most of them are just parked or abandoned. But I’m glad those ideas failed because that led to Eleventyone which, it would seem, I like for a lot of reasons.
10. I need something to get excited about!!! I need more passion in my life!!! Eleventyone is an internet expression for the use of multiple exclamation marks. It’s easy to make fun of the overly eager in our midst. Getting worked up is the opposite of being cool. World weariness and ironic detachment have been around for generations before hipsters made it popular again. Ennui may be appealing to some, but I’m no longer interested in trying to prove that I don’t give a shit. Now, I’m not endorsing sentences that end like this!!! But I am embracing a little more excitement and passion in my life and in this blog.
11. Eleventyone posts in a year is the goal. To be perfectly honest with you, I was going to keep this a secret goal so it wouldn’t be as shameful if I failed. Either I hit it by next December or I didn’t. But I’m going for it, and announcing it will help me stay motivated. The idea for the name came first, but I quickly began wondering if I could create eleventyone posts in 2013. It breaks down to two posts a week, plus an extra one every other month. Maybe not a lot as far as blogs go, but it seems a lot for me right now. I know it’s going to be tough but I am going to accomplish this goal.