What’s In A Name?

I started blogging 15 years ago. My site name started as “Things I Think Are Cool,” which later transitioned to “PigeonToadComics” (named after a mini zine I self-published).

Here we are in 2016. I always have loved my last name “Gubba” and found that visually and vocally it expressed something lighthearted, strange, and fun all at once. Pronounced “Goo-bah”, it hails from Hawaiian ancestry. Or, that’s what I am told by my lovely brown-eyed Pacific Islander grandmother, who’s trademark is bright orange lipstick (which unfortunately took me 15 years to finally appreciate for the radical, stylish, and bold look that it is, just like her).

It’s only one half of my original maiden name, the other is a decidedly German, which my grandfather seems particularly proud of. Combined with a little hyphen, my last name caused many a spelling and pronunciation error as I grew up.

I split with the German part (not legally, but artistically) because it just didn’t connect with me. I felt more like a “Gubba” then anything. It took me several years of running blogs with long-winded titles to finally accept that it wasn’t necessary. My name is enough.

I’m not sure why I wanted to share this, but so much of me is still so unsettled by the sudden death of David Bowie. When I think of his name, and what it represents, it makes me think of how powerful a name can be. What it can inspire. How colorful it can be.

It’s a rather simple first name – David, and a neat little last name – Bowie. Combined with offset eyes, wild hair, and a long, lean figure draped in dazzling clothes that speak of other planets rather than designers – we are presented with David Bowie. A namesake for all the freaks, outcasts, weirdos, lovers, dreamers, and abstract figures living among us, within us, and outside of us should we dare to expose it.

His impression on me and millions of others is one of quiet awe, inspiration, admiration, adoration, and wide-eyed appreciation.

I wonder what each of us could accomplish if we owned our name, our minds, our creativity such as he did. If we took everything we had, and ran with it. If we let ourselves become what we want most to be, not passively, but with courage and boldness and passion. Unrelenting. Unreal. Un-human?

To David Bowie – thank you.


Photo of David BOWIE




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