In a way, everything. Names are inherently the first impression we have of a person or place, and since we can remember, we’ve always been interested in the meaning of and story behind them! If you’re a blogger, a writer or a business owner, chances are you’ve agonized over just the right name or title for your work. It is, after all, a rather important detail. We’ve agonized about many things related to the blog (here's looking at you, coding), but this wasn’t one of them. As they often do, things worked a little backwards for us on the name front.
You might be surprised to know that the name came to us long before storytelling on the internet was even a thing. In fact, the first time we heard it, we were still teenagers, waiting on that dial-up connection and chatting with complete (not to mention creepy) strangers on Alamak Chat. At the time, we didn’t know how or when this name would factor into our lives but the backstory goes a little like this.
We spent much of our childhood in one of the most quaint towns in Northern Ontario, Canada. A small, lakeside beauty called New Liskeard. It’s where our grandparents lived and cottaged, and the entire makeup of that town is intrinsic to our being.
This is the cottage: our whole '35+ and-then-some' family’s summer home for over 50 years now.
To you, it probably looks like an old, serial killer-esque cabin in the woods, but to us, it holds some of our most precious, coming-of-age memories. What it lacked in beauty was made up tenfold with heart and soul. Countless family gatherings. Endless summer days. And enough campfires, waterski competitions, boat breakdowns, and bush parties to last 9 lives. Oh, and lest we forget the near-deadly tube rides.
It was outfitted with wood panelled walls and an Elvis Presley cuckoo clock; worn-paged mystery books and hand-me down board games (‘$25,000 Dollar Pyramid’, anyone?). Unsightly furniture, an old canoe and an even older motor boat nearly perfected the scene. But like any good 'rustic' cabin, it wouldn’t have been complete without stacks and stacks of (highly flammable) magazines scattered about and tucked away in every corner. In our case, “Reader’s Digest” was deemed the highest and purest form of cottage literature, trumping Cottage Life and those treasured mystery novels.
While we used to flip straight to the good stuff (the ‘Real Life Drama’ and ‘Laughter Is The Best Medicine’ bits), we did occasionally quiz each other on our ‘Word Power’ knowledge and read aloud the ‘Points To Ponder’ section. And that is precisely where we read a quote by Thomas Wolfe that resonated deeply with us and our mutual affinity for all things eerie, autumnal and nostalgic.
It struck such a chord with us, that we rebelliously ripped that page right out of the digest, and have kept it to.this.day. It was the next best thing to having the quote tattooed on our lower middle back and now we think it’s pretty special that we still have the original tattered paper from 1999 as a keepsake.
Naturally, when we first started nurturing this idea of a blog (some *cough* 18 *cough* years later), we kept coming back to the same overarching theme of our beloved season, Fall, and we instinctively knew what it would be called. Thankfully, a few years ago, we did the millennial version of writing a secret idea in a journal, and we saved a gmail account with the name ‘field & hollow’ (and one for ‘old october’, just in case), because somehow we knew that one day, in some way, it would be a significant part of our lives.
And here we are! As it goes, 'a rose by any other name would smell as sweet', but we like to think our blog wouldn't embody the same familiarity and sentimentality had we not happened upon Wolfe's words all those years ago.