1. What is your first name? How do you feel about it?
Melissa. I really do like my first name, and am not a fan of abominations of it (exempli gratia Mel). I used to and still remain writing my name in places where I have nothing else to write.
2. Do you feel that a name can influence the course of a person's life? Their personality?
Perhaps because of stigmas placed on them by other people. Is Matthew good at math because it's part of his name? Is Harmony a good singer, or peaceful?
3. Can a person's name sway your opinion of them? Why or why not?
Of course. We talk about first impressions all the time, but what about pre-impressions? How would you feel if you were told that you were being set up on a blind date with someone named Melvin? This is slightly accurate at times, because generally the parents that name their child also influence their life and lifestyle. You don't name a guy William Jefferson without assuming he's going to be influential. And you don't name someone Rain unless you've got some hippie skirts you'd like to pass down.
4. How do you feel about the current trend toward androgynous first names?
I don't really have an issue with them, though I can imagine it's hard for the kid and for others who expect to see someone of the opposite sex. I think Ryan in particular is a beautiful first name for a girl.
5. Are there any names that speak powerfully to you, whether by association or imagination?
Mostly names that remind me of someone that I know or that I've read about. Unusual names that are somehow related to your life, I suppose. You don't hear about any other "Voldemort" named people in town, but I assure you that if you did, you'd be a little wary to speak to them.