Home 9 Issue 9 What’s in a Name by Livia Basche

Livia Basche, age 13

New York

I enjoy exploring aspects of my identity. We are examining Shakespeare in school, and my name comes from Twelfth Night, so that inspired me.

What’s in a Name

I was named after Olivia from Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night
and my Great-Grandma Lillian
A woman I never met
Twelfth Night is a comedy
and I don’t know if I am like Olivia
A grieving woman who marries the twin of her lover for comedy’s sake

Perhaps a search will yield the meaning of my name
Blue, envious, empress
Life, lioness, olive tree
But I’m not a plant
My favorite color is lavender
I don’t rule anything
Nor am I perpetually jealous
I’m alive, I suppose
But sometimes I feel more like a mouse than a lion

All meaning aside
I like my name
Sounds like a melody
Feels like silky ribbons on my tongue
Darts and swerves like a breeze through a forest
When I whisper it
The leaves rustle

I am Liv now
though not forever
The “-ia” left behind but not forgotten
tags at my heel and
someday I will pick it up and carry it with me

Charles, my middle name
is an homage to my mom’s dad, my Grandpa Charles
He could always make my mother laugh
and he died on my grandmother’s birthday
He said divorcing my Grandma Terry was the worst mistake he ever made
No one ever calls me by my middle name

Basche, my last name
It used to be Baschinsky but
that sounded too Russian
which was bad in my grandfather’s time
His dog tag says his real name                                              

Malcolm Baschinsky
Charles Reiner
Lillian Meyers
Olivia of Illyria

Livia Charles Basche
Six syllables
Three names, three words
Four stories