This week we celebrated Summer Solstice, the “longest” day of the year. Or the shortest night. Either way, it means lots of fun in the sun.
The timing couldn’t be better because today’s name interview fits in perfectly with this theme. I met Sommer Collier recently and couldn’t resist the opportunity to talk to her about her name. Not only is it a unique name, but it also boasts an unusual spelling. Pronounced like the sunny season we’re in, Sommer is a name that imbues passion both in the sound and its intrinsic meaning.
The Name Project: Sommer Collier
The story goes that Sommer’s mom wanted to name her Beth. Her dad objected and received what we could imagine as a “typical” response, “Fine, then YOU name her.” And that’s exactly what he did. Sommer Joy is the name he landed on; a “happy sort of name” as Sommer describes it.
Sommer didn’t hate her name at all, but she did go through some teasing about it in her lifetime. She’s tried to block from her memory the countless number of times people have called her Winter. In the end, she has remained grateful for the moniker, especially that it wasn’t a household, common name.
And the name has stood the test of time. Sommer liked her unusual name as a child and it remains to this day a fairly uncommon name. So much so that she was never really dubbed with a nickname like so many of us are subjected to, whether we like it or not.
I asked Sommer if she thought names make a difference in people’s lives. Her response caught me off-guard. She said, “I believe in self-fulfilling prophecies.”
I was concerned maybe she had misinterpreted my question. It’s not as if names are really “self” fulfilled because they’re usually given to us by someone else. At least that’s the way I looked at it until Sommer showed me otherwise. Here’s what she said:
“I think if a person goes around saying they are miserable, or that they will never amount to anything…that will surely be the case. And those that believe (and talk as if) there is something marvelous within them just dying to get out, will watch their lives flourish and grow. I think the same could work with names — especially names with a strong meaning.”
Sommer was telling me what I have long suspected. Names can have an impact on a life.
There comes a point in most everyone’s life where they contemplate their name, especially for women who are about to get married. Sommer changed her name with her nuptials and I can’t imagine it was an easy switch because her birth name, Scrivner, was full of prescient significance. Scrivner is a word that means scribe or writer and interestingly enough, five of the seven of her family members (including Sommer) are writers. “Funny how that works!” she said with a wink.
Obviously Sommer’s last name had an impact on her life, but I was curious if she felt the same about her first name. She told me that being named Sommer impacted her life in two ways. First, because she was teased a lot about it throughout childhood, it taught her early on to toughen up and be the bigger person. Second, having a creative name served as a source of inspiration fostering her own creativity, one of her strengths.
Sommer spends her days with her family, but she also is the artistic force behind her blog, A Spicy Perspective. She told me that she’s inspired by her faith and her family. Falling closely behind those two comes a passion for travel, food, and nature. But she was quick to add, “I think you can be inspired by just about anything if you look at it with the right glasses.”
Good words to live by!