Inspired by the Blogging from A to Z Challenge theme reveal hosted last year by Mina Lobo, this year the reveal blogfest is being hosted by Samantha Geary Jones, Vidya SuryAnna TanCsenge ZalkaGuilie Castillo Oriard, with technical support from Jemima Pett and Mary Wallace. They’re all members of Team Danyanti.

This year I’m participating with two blogs, this main blog (which may be getting a url change soon, but not in time to disrupt the Challenge) and my new names blog, Onomastics Outside the Box.

My names blog will focus on the invented names that were so popular during the early decades of the Soviet Union, using modern Russian names borrowed from other cultures for the letters where I could find no invented names. Since the Russian Cyrillic alphabet is missing five letters in the Roman alphabet (H, J, Q, W, X), those days will be wild cards.

In the interest of equality, I’m featuring a male and female name on each day. You’ll get to know a little about strange names that were actually used on real children, like Chelnaldina, Avangard, Traktorina, Uryuvkos, Marklen, and Elektron. Some of the names are pretty nice and don’t sound obviously invented, like Velira, Zarema, Lenora, Orletos, and Damir.

My main blog had themes directly related to my writing the last two years, but this year it’s only indirectly related. I’m writing about cities which feature in my writing, some more strongly than others. A few are only peripherally related, while my two X cities are just cities with cool names I’d now love to feature in future. Every entry has lots of pictures, all meticulously credited where I didn’t take them. X and T are double-features, since I really couldn’t choose.

You’ll get to see, and learn about, places like:

Dushanbe, Tajikistan

Xánthi, Greece

Tartu, Estonia

Fereydunshahr, Iran

Kutaisi, Georgia

Pirna, Germany

Uelen, Russia

In the interest of originality, I tried as much as possible to choose lesser-known places. Who wants to read yet another post about Paris, Budapest, Florence, or San Francisco? The photos on the R and J days are all mine, so if you come then, you’ll get to see what kind of photography work I do.

I think the only super-well-known city I used was Jerusalem, but I had to show off some of my beautiful photos, and I tried to use original subjects you haven’t seen over and over again. You get to see a little Arab boy on a donkey and his friend by the cemetery where Oskar Schindler is buried, a clown entertaining a sick Arab child in Hadassah Hospital, a feral cat among red flowers, and the Sidna Omar Mosque amid purple flowers.

You won’t want to miss my Z day, which is not only about a city, but a tribute to a very special hero who went to his eternal reward three years ago, and the potential we all have to act with a love of humanity and instinctively do the right thing.

13 thoughts on “A to Z with geography and Soviet names

  1. Geographic topics are good ones because there are so many opportunities to use images. The Russian names is very topical considering what’s been going on in the news regarding that region of the world.

    Good luck with the Challenge.

    An A to Z Co-Host
    Tossing It Out


  2. Cool idea and certainly unique, as far as I can tell. As a former neighbor to Russia (USSR), I look forward to reading your posts. One of the great things about the challenge is all that we learn.


  3. I love to vicariously travel, and the Russian names one has to be about the most original theme I’ve seen yet. Best of luck keeping up w/ both blogs throughout the challenge!


  4. Love both themes, Carrie-Anne, and you did a great job with the post itself: just enough revealed to tantalize, enough kept back to keep us coming back 🙂 Kudos, bloggy friend! I’ll definitely be back often, during April and beyond 🙂

    Thanks for stopping over at Quiet Laughter: The Mighty Reveal and for your super nice comment–much appreciated 🙂


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