I’ve always liked the idea of personifying places and things. I think it is cool when people have names for their cars and their houses. For the most part my things acquire fairly dull names like “the van” because I don’t take time to make a cool name stick first. But this time I had it in my head that I’d like to have a Calcifer in my life. Calcifer is the flame creature which powers and runs Howl’s Moving Castle. I wanted something like that in my life, a source of magic and energy, a familiar. So the name Calcifer was already in my head when I realized that the need for a new laptop was dire. My old laptop computer (called “my laptop” even thought I’d attempted to label it Scribit at one point) had reached unusable levels of battery life and memory. Calcifer seemed a perfect name for a portable computer, so I wandered the store looking for which of the computers met my needs and seemed the most like a Calcifer. I settled on a Toshiba brand with a pleasant wood grain look to the casing.
Calcifer came home, and here is where giving him a name makes a difference. If I left him sitting untouched for too long, I started to feel guilty. It was not the guilt of “I spent money I should use this thing” it was the niggling feeling that my friend Calcifer was lonely, that he was waiting for me to use him to write stories, or blog entries, or something. In the month that I’ve had Calcifer I’ve spent a lot more time dwelling in a writer mind space. Today I drafted fiction for the first time in I don’t know how long. It is a weird little psychological feedback loop. The existence of Calcifer in my life encourages me to write. Then I like Calcifer better because he nudges me to do writing. The more I like Calcifer the more motivated I am to make sure he isn’t lonely. I’m quite aware that this laptop I’ve named Calcifer is in fact inanimate. It doesn’t think or care, but names have power over me. I like the results of bestowing this one. Now I just need to get Calcifer a pretty sticker to cover up the Toshiba.