Thursday, June 30, 2016

Eirik Maolruanaidh - The Not Me of Me

I’ve been researching names for something I am writing.  People's names invite a kind of archaeology - as other meanings and usages are below the dirt, often making people closer to the bones of their origins than they appear.

My name is Eric Maroney.  Eric is anglicized from the Old Norse name Eirik, which means, roughly, Always Ruler, or Eternal Ruler.  Maroney, which was Moroney until 1910, is from my Irish paternal great-grandfather.  It the anglicized version of the Gaelic last name Maolruanaidh, which means follower of the saint Ruanadh, who lived in Ireland and Scotland around 700 AD or so.

So, my names are Old Norse and Gaelic, two cultures and languages that do not even lightly brush my sense of identity.  Yet here they are, the original names, malformed in the vice of anglicization - forced to assume English, modern forms.  I have to pay attention, even if it feels like someone else’s identity, and some other person’s name. They are the mark of origins. Eirik Maolruanaidh - an Old Norse-Gaelic fusion - me and not me at the same time.

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