One thing I get asked from time to time is "Why English Raven?"
Well, it will (hopefully) be reassuring to know that the name didn't come from a desire to sound like an Edgar Allan Poe poem reader, nor as some sort of cool and tough-sounding computer game character. And for those who have contacted me to say the concept of a raven is too dark and sinister looking/sounding (especially for a resource site dedicated to teachers of young people), I can honestly say being "dark" wasn't the motivation either!
Basically, my surname - Renshaw - comes from an Old English name hraefnsceagu, or "Raven Shaw" - or in the clearest modern English rendering "Raven Wood." Raven is the most prominent element in my family name - simple as that!
Back in 2001, when I was pondering a name for my first website, I wanted something that reflected my identity and yet would be original and memorable. "Renshaw English" just didn't quite make the cut. Too stuffy and too boring, I thought.
I focused in on the raven element, and suddenly thought of the idea of raving - or raven'. As in, "he's raven' on about something." That captured my sense of humour a little, but I didn't want to be known for just gossiping on passionately about something.
Then I started to get a little more poetic. As a student of the modern and ancient scandinavian languages (I spent time at Uppsala University in Sweden studying Old Icelandic, Old Swedish, and Runic), I was pretty familiar with Norse mythology and I was always intrigued by the notion of Odin's two ravens: Huginn and Muninn.
These two ravens (according to the mythodology) travelled the world gathering news and information to bring back to Odin. More tellingly, their names meant Thought (Huginn) and Memory (Muninn).
This was the clincher to me! The idea of a website (and accompanying blog) that allowed me to think and document memories of experiences and work I had done sounded just right. It fit my name, fit the idea of talking passionately (if a little too much or incoherently at times), and represented the Old Norse concepts of thought and memory perfectly!
And that, my friends, is where the name English Raven came from. Simpler and yet more mysterious than you might have at first guessed...
What about you? What's the name of your website or blog? Does the name (or naming process) have an interesting development or twist?