The Name Game by Lisa Montagne

A sneak peak at Archive 405 Vol. 3: The Relationships Issue

What happens when you can’t remember a person’s name? The Name Game

I’ve been told that if I want to figure out my stripper name (and who doesn’t?) just use my childhood pet’s name in combination with the name of the street that I grew up on. The result: Kitty Rowland. Not half bad. If I wore the right outfit, some people might buy it if I introduced myself with “Hi! My name is Kitty Rowland.” The truth is, though, that even if my name were Kitty Rowland, it would not be any easier for people to remember than Lisa Montagne.

According to psychologist Jeremy Dean, there is research confirming that remembering names is difficult for everyone. Jill Speigel, author of How to Talk to Anyone About Anything, says that “everyone struggles with remembering names. When we first meet someone we’re taking in so much visually and emotionally. They say their name, but it’s up there floating in our heads.” Speigel adds that many common names, like Chris, Joe, Jill, or Amy, all “tend to blend together.” As a result, while we may recognize a person’s face the next time we see him, his name has taken a low priority in our brain’s information processing system—which is, it turns out, completely normal for just about everyone.   Continue reading “The Name Game by Lisa Montagne”

How To Make a Community by Lisa Montagne

After high school, everything changes for most people. Even if a young person stays near home to go to college or to work, daily life no longer takes place entirely in the safe arenas of school, home, friends, and familiar environments. A person may be required to, or choose to, move out of her parent’s home, and many of her friends may leave for college, move or simply fade away. Students who go away from home to college undoubtedly experience the most severe uprooting, but for them, there is often some refuge provided by the college community. But, whether a person stays near home or goes to another city, it is very challenging to replace the built-in community that exists for most Americans throughout the usual school years.

It is easy to become isolated in urban and suburban areas where no built-in and consistent communities exist just outside a person’s door. Large populations, such as those in Southern California, are overwhelming and make it impossible to know everyone, which is more likely in small towns. In fact, it is often not desirable to know one’s neighbors in city and suburban environments—it could be threatening to privacy and even dangerous in some cases, especially for people who live alone.

As the country has become more urban and suburban during the last fifty years, and as small-town communities have become the exception rather than the rule, the challenge of finding a group to belong in has been made increasingly difficult. One might even argue that urban gangs have become attractive to young people because there is no natural community available to them, so they make their own–no matter how misguided they may be.

As a result of the isolating nature of modern society, a person must actively seek a group or groups to belong to in order follow his natural instincts for love, security, a sense of place in the world, and a context for creating a meaningful life. Continue reading “How To Make a Community by Lisa Montagne”