Saturday, August 6, 2011

The Subtle Art of Naming

The title of this post is a reference and tribute to Patrick Rothfuss, who was a rising star among fantasy authors before The Fall broke humanity. I've mentioned him before, and as far as I know, he's still safely tucked away with his family. I hope he's been safe from the hordes or undead, and has found time to keep writing. When and if society rises from the ashes, people will need stories to uplift them again. 

The reason Pat and his amazing book, The Name of the Wind, come to mind this morning is because the citizens of the compound are officially voting to rename this place today. I'm excited. I think we all are. 

We're considering several options, but I've been asked not to mention them here. While communication with the rest of you out there is usually limited, nobody on the council wants any outside influence. Names are important things. This is a decision that has to be totally ours. Even the visiting NJ soldiers and workers aren't being told. 

It almost feels like we're approaching some kind of renaissance period. We've been through such awful times lately, and though the storms battered us, the clouds are breaking and sweet sunlight is on the horizon. 

So much is going on without my input now that it's hard for me to keep track of it all. Gabrielle's efforts toward manufacturing medical supplies have, as I've mentioned, spurred a flurry of creative energies around the compound. She's got a dozen people working with her during the day, and there are shifts of people producing antibiotics and other medical supplies around the clock. 

I also said that people have become more open to trade now that they know we've started making very desirable products. What we didn't realize, and what I didn't know until a day ago, was that this would spark a wave of trade among many groups of survivors. 

Basically, some of our people have taken up the mantle of managing trades between the different groups. While we need to trade our goods for food, some groups don't have any extra to barter with. Maybe group A has food, but group B only has spare weapons. Group C has clothing, which group D needs. Several of our people ( proudly, I can say that three of them are my former trainees) are working out trades among them so that every group manages to get something they need, and get rid of stuff they don't. 

Such simple ideas wouldn't have seemed extraordinary before The Fall, but humankind has become even less trustful since the zombie plague began. I guess it took a truly desirable and rare set of goods to precipitate the whole thing, but there you go. I can only imagine what will happen when Gabby is able to produce penicillin. Oh, yes, she's working hard on that. Unfortunately it's a complicated, finicky process that involves a lot of specialized equipment to do right. 

We've got people putting feelers out there, trying to find it. 

I went wide of my intended topic, which was names of things. Specifically, the name of this place, but I think this post pretty well sums up why this is so important to us. We've gone beyond being a bunch of people living together behind a wall. That's a compound. 

We've suffered as one on a scale none of us imagined possible a year ago. At least, I don't think any of us would have seen us surviving the things we've gone through. Somehow, we did it. Add to that new innovations, working on unifying survivors from all over with trade, trying to act as a neutral party so everyone ends up a winner, and "the compound" seems dull, utilitarian, and wholly inadequate as a descriptor for who we are. 

Names can mean everything or nothing. Everything if you choose the right one, and nothing if you fail to live up to that choice. 

We'll do our best. 

1 comment:

  1. Don't forget that Col. Potter is allergic to Tomato soup, so don't go to too much trouble to trade for that for him.
    *sigh* I miss mindless hours in front of the television watching M*A*S*H ...
    Looking forward to finding out the new name!