Ruminating…

Shaun Emerson Blog 4 Comments

I have been ruminating about our organization’s new name, MenLiving. As you can see, we eliminated the space between Men and Living to create the name and logo. My contemplation led me to wonder what if we added the space back in and then a punctuation mark (don’t you all wonder obscure shit like this?).  The first thought I had was, MenLiving member, Chris Lozier is going to give me a hard time about the grammatical implications of such an exercise. Then, I just sat with the enhanced meaning given to these words, men and living, by the particular punctuation. Here are the results:

Men Living? I wonder first what is living? Life is certainly more than breath, heartbeat and brain function. Is living the fulfillment of our many possible identities: son, sibling, significant other, parent, friend, employee, boss? I wonder, for men, is it living if we conform to the traditional “laws” of manhood? I wonder if men are “living” if they are lonely, afraid, and not connected.  

Men Living. Nothing exciting here. Just living. Life on repeat. Autopilot. Get up, piss, drink coffee, work, watch tv, go to bed. Layer in a couple hobbies, and maybe family activities. Do it again. Probably fine. It occurs to me, though, you could read it as definitive. Period. End of Story. Living (whatever living is). But it doesn’t hit me that way. 

Men Living! Honestly, feels a little goofy. Reads a bit like a Broadway show title (probably a musical, likely over-the-top). And despite that, there is no doubt, I will communicate it with this enthusiasm at some point in the near future. I do like the energy. I like that this version implies zest and bigness. I feel be all you want to and can be. Suck up everything life has to offer. And I actually like a big Broadway musical every now and then. But all the time? Too much.

Men Living This version is wide open. I feel curious. It’s as though there is more to be said. It feels as though an ellipsis (the three dots) has been omitted. I use an ellipsis often when I write emails. I use it to suggest that there is more, but I am leaving it out and you could fill in the blank (I don’t think this is an appropriate use. Is it, Chris?). So, here, with this version that is incomplete, my curiosity compels me to fill in the blank with a modifier: large, happy, loving, intentional, healthy, connected. But also: lonely, sad, tired, afraid. 

MenLiving invites men living all these ways and more to come join us in fellowship. 

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