I’ve never imagined my last name as an adjective before, but that’s exactly what the Daily Prompt from the WordPress Daily Post has asked me to do today. I don’t often do these daily prompts but this one was too good not to do.
The prompt, which can be found here, says:
Some writers’ names have becomes adjectives: Kafkaesque, Marxist, Orwellian, sadistic. If your name (or nickname, or blog name) were to become an adjective, what would it mean?
My last name is Watson, as both the title of this post and my username on here and every other social media I use may suggest. The thing is, there already is a famous Watson in literature – probably several actually – but I am referring to the famous assistant to Sherlock Holmes. This character is a little hard to define, however, as the interpretation of him by directors and, for that matter, readers, has varied greatly since the Holmes stories were first penned so long ago. Also, he’s had plenty of time to become an adjective and he hasn’t, so, you know, my turn.
If I were to base the meaning of Watsonian on the history of the name, the history is diverse and goes back a long time – well over a thousand years. The name, which stems ultimately from the name Walter, means apparently either “Powerful Warrior” or “Mighty Army” (most sources seem to point to one of these two), so maybe Watsonian could just mean powerful or strong as an adjective? But then the motto, “Mea Gloria Fides”, translates as “Fidelity is my Glory”, so maybe it could have something to do with that?
Of course, when we think of Orwellian or Kafkaesque we think of writing, and of certain elements of writing which are similar to those writers, such as political commentary through dystopian societies which Orwell was known for or the surrealism of Kafka. So really, I don’t know if my writing will ever be considered particularly strong or powerful, or adhering to some kind of fidelity (that isn’t even making sense). No no, when I think about it, my writing most of the time is a bit silly, sometimes I try to be thought provoking but normally I’m just silly, I’m pretty sure.
So, “Watsonian” as an adjective probably just means “silly”, or at best “vaguely funny”. And I’m alright with that.
What might your last name mean as a literary adjective?