Allusionist 87. Name v. Law

Iceland has quite exacting laws about what its citizens can be named, and only around 4,000 names are on the officially approved list. If you want a name that deviates from that list, you have to send an application to the Icelandic Naming Committee, whose three members will decide whether or not you're allowed it. And if they say you're not...you might have to take things pretty far.

Sigurður Konráðsson, foreman of the Icelandic Naming Committee, explains the committee’s objectives. And comedian, writer and former mayor of Reykjavik Jón Gnarr describes his 25-year fight to change his name.

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Allusionist 86. Name Therapy

“It's the word that you use the most often and the soonest to describe yourself, and yet nobody's really ever talked about how it kind of makes me feel like this.” Until Duana Taha, who, after a lifetime of feelings about her own name, became the Name Therapist.

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Allusionist 85. Skin Story

“I wanted a story that actually lives, and actually dies, and disappears.”

In 2003, artist and author Shelley Jackson started the Skin Project: a story printed, word by word, as tattoos on volunteers.

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Allusionist 84. Trammels

Why would you write books or poems or plays with only one vowel? Or in palindromes? Or only using the example sentences in dictionaries? Sometimes you need to force yourself to jump a few hurdles (and perhaps the rest of the obstacle course) before your creativity will be unleashed.

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Allusionist 83. Yes, As In

"Really? As in the animal/foodstuff/music genre?" 
"Is that a stripper name?" 
"What were your parents thinking?"


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Allusionist 82. A Novel Remedy

When you're feeling unwell, what's the book you read to make yourself feel better? And why does it work?

Clinical psychologist Jane Gregory explains why she sometimes prescribes novel-reading to her patients; and academic Guy Cuthbertson tells how post-WW1 Britain was soothed by Agatha Christie's murder mysteries.

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