About stuff (including me and writing)

Friday, April 01, 2016

Rini, off the end of Catherine

Hi. I'm Rini Cobbey. This is my blog, which was an experiment in undirected communication, but now just Is. This post is about "me."

I'm a writer and educator and a person.

I love cheese. The food. Because it's salty.

I sometimes overpack my words and sentences with inferences and layers. Love, cheese, food, and salt are all polysemic and figurative as well as Real.

One might get to know a little about me and my writing here via a quick study of my name.

My name is Rini. It's off the end of Catherine. Like my name, I don't necessarily fall within common cultural norms, but neither am I off the page. As a teacher I have concluded that forms of Catherine have been the most frequent names of all my students. Kaitlyn, Kathleen, Cathryn, Cate. In one class of fewer than 20 students, I had three Katies and one Kate on the roster. I never had a Rini. When I'm asked, "Is that short for something?" or "Where did that come from?" it doesn't take long for my new friend to comprehend, "It's off the end of Catherine."

My name is Rini. It's a linguistic thing. Like my name, my humanity was born in Vietnam. Many (maybe most; I often say "most," but I also often say "I teach in the arts, so my numbers might be sketchy") languages in the world do not pronounce "th" the ("th"e) way one commonly does in English. The new baby "Catherine" became "Catrine" became "Catrini" and then, hi, "Rini." Like my name, I'm a complex mix of cultural identities and associations. We're also both into language and its non-deadness.

My name is Rini. I often have to spell it, and I sometimes, unbegrudgingly, accept alternative pronunciations. Like my responses to my name, I can be pretty patient, accommodating, and moderate. Which is not to say I don't hold strong feelings and understandings. I know stuff, so there is a way to say and spell my name (hint: not RenĂ©e, but it's okay). I used to say "It's spelled phonetically" and then I matured and acknowledged the fact that not everyone took a course on the IPA and diction when they were young and impressionable.

I write here. Sometimes about my longer research and writing projects on (Bollywood) weddings and (dead) celebrities, our world, language and communication, movies, technology, social media, social human beings, truth, and the world of cats. It's complicated. But it's not that complicated.

I welcome your reading and your joining a conversation, should the spirit move.

In other incarnations, I'm rinila on Twitter, Goodreads, and a little less on Letterboxd.

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