yikes, should I change my blog name?

I just came across the word “cultivated” in an article I’m reading, and it just now occurred to me that there’s a definition of “cultivated” — as “educated” or “refined” — that I definitely didn’t mean when I entitled my blog “Cultivated Pages.”

I don’t know why this other definition didn’t occur to me until today (!) — probably because to me the word has always first conveyed a rich organic and human metaphor such as that of a gardener cultivating a garden. I always liked the way Thoreau used it: “It is not desirable to cultivate a respect for law, so much as a respect for right” (from “Civil Disobedience,” I’m pretty sure), and “Cultivate poverty like a garden herb, like sage” (from Walden?).

So I didn’t mean “Cultivated Pages” as in educated or refined pages. Yikes, makes me want to re-name my blog and move to a new URL. “Educated” and “refined” sound simply too uppity. I didn’t mean that at all.

What do any readers think? When you read the title Cultivated Pages, do you first think of “refined and educated pages”??


9 thoughts on “yikes, should I change my blog name?

  1. Perhaps because the blog was about writing and came out of a writing center at first, I think both uses came to mind, but probably the use of the version to indicate “educated” or “refined” rose first. After I began reading the blog, I lost the more uppity sense of the word, though. You clearly do not approach writing in any uppity way at all. (I had a graduate student colleague who taught part-time at YVCC when I first was hired. He used to talk about “bringing students into the parlor,” in reference to teaching writing. He didn’t last long at YVCC, thank goodness.)

    Anyway, I imagine it can be read both ways, but that anyone who actually reads your blog will recognize that it represents the more organic use primarily. So I guess I wouldn’t necessarily change it.

    BTW, I have been meaning to write about my experience teaching with a religious text book in class. I just haven’t had time. But it’s very rewarding! I do think it can be done, and it elicites some beautiful writing.

  2. I always assumed you meant “educated” or “refined,” and not the garden cultivation. Tags like “discourse theory,” “higher education,” and “Academic vs. Expressive Writing” never really nudged me toward the idea of the organic or gardening, though I did recognize that was another meaning for it when I first looked at your page. It can be read either, of course, but assumptions might fall heavier on one side. Then again, maybe everyone is not like me. :)

  3. Hi, Shannon. Hi, Marjorie.

    Thanks for the feedback! I’m a bit amazed at myself for going two years without remembering the first connotation of that word. I guess it shows how much someone can get attached to one shade of meaning and forget the rest.

    I really really don’t want people assuming I mean “educated” or “refined,” even if they change their mind later. I’m a little horrified to think that’s what people have been thinking. So I am going to try to come up with a new name that better fits what I mean (or switch to a name emphasizing something else).

    It can just take me an inordinate amount of time to think of a name! I spent way too much time on it.

    Thanks again, both of you. Shannon, I look forward to hearing some time about your experiences with religious texts. And I love hearing that they can elicit some beautiful writing. That’s cool.

  4. Hi, Laura. When I first read read your title, “refined” never came to my mind. Instead, I thought about “cultivating” your thinking, about tending to it and letting it grow. I suppose etymologically the two meanings are very close, but I read your title more as a process than a final product.

    Perhaps if you still like your title but you’re uneasy with the connotations, you can have a permanent post at the top of the page that explains your title. This allows you to keep the title, but offers you the opportunity to explain it.

    Of course, title changes are also good.

  5. Thanks, Michael. I’m glad to hear you thought of the word that way — really glad, actually. Good idea about the permanent post. I would like to retain, if possible, that sense of cultivating as in nourishing or tending one’s thoughts (as a scholar) and students’ writing (as a teacher). Hmmm, I’ll keep thinkin’ about it. Thanks again.

  6. I thought you meant cultivating as in working-on, nourishing, etc, but it may be because I know you and know you aren’t, you know, snobby. :)

  7. Looks like all the bases are covered so far, but for what it’s worth, I have been reading this as cultivating in a garden – at least a garden of ideas! Where never a weed word shall spring! or maybe riotous blooming and tendrils of thinking. That sort of thing.. Now you have an explanation above – so that should avoid any confusion. it’s true that you don’t talk much about vegetables.

    By the way, what is this “possibly related posts – automatically generated”? Looks intriguing!

  8. Heheh, yes, it’s true I don’t talk about vegetables. :-) Thanks, Sara. I’m glad to hear you read it that way, too. I love your description, actually: “a garden of ideas! Where never a weed word shall spring! or maybe riotous blooming and tendrils of thinking.”

    And thanks, Chanel, too. Oh, yes, you kneeeew how snobbish I am! ;-)

    I’m thinking I’ll go with Michael’s advice and add some permanent “about” box (something in addition to the “About” page) and keep the title for now. If this wordpress template allowed a tagline, that would help.

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