Today is our forWord anniversary!
[Our first picture as a group.]
In celebration of the day we decided to form a collective, it feels only right to reminisce when we were nameless. A year ago today, we were not forWord; just four friends who loved spoken word poetry and wanted to contine writing together post-Uncultivated Rabbits at UC Irvine. Like most groups, we went through a brainstorming process. We were at Steph’s and my apartment in Anaheim and I still remember how we threw ideas back and forth in the living room. We even had a white board to record some of the ideas.
Let’s go through some of the names: the good, the bad, and the ugly. We thought of other alumni groups, like Kaba Modern Legacy, so logically we thought of something like Uncultivated Rabbits… Legacy. Other names we suggested include: Word Factory, Spitfire, Snap, The Daily Grind, Four/4 Sight/Recite, The Workshop, Training Wheels, Freudian Slip, Purebred, Progress, Soapbox, and Small Talk. One name we liked, but just became a running joke with us was Standing Ovation with its own tagline, “You better!” You can thank Mark for that one.
[The very first time we visited Speak Easy.]
Unbeknownst to most people, we actually went by another name for an entire week. We were known as “Blindspot Poets” with the tagline, “You didn’t see it coming,” which was also conjured by Mark. Clearly we were aiming for a name that not only defined us, but also had a catchy phrase attached to it. Fun times! But I ultimately was the only one who didn’t embrace this name with open arms; more or less, I just gave my right hand. It wasn’t enough. I figured that I would sleep on it and maybe it would grow on me. That never happened.
[Respect the studio! Taken during a recording session.]
At the next meeting, I asked if we could have another brainstorming session. I hoped to myself beforehand that I would not get kicked out, and luckily I am still here. So it was back to the drawing board. For some time, I have had the dream to facilitate a writing program for the youth and subsequently entitle the program, “UpWord.” I liked the name so much that I thought I would give it a try to see if the others would like it. Obviously, there was a play on words with going “upwards” and staying “up” with “words,” but ironically this idea didn’t fly.
So we continued to go over past names. At this point, we pretty much exhausted our creative drive to think of new ones. We were ultimately going in circles. Then suddenly, Susan said, “How about forword because there are ‘four’ of us?” It was like a match was lit up inside all of us. Simultaneously, Steph, Mark, Susan, and I all pitched in different ways “forword" could apply to us, such as "foreword" to imply that this is the beginning of something new, "forward" to imply that we are making progress, "for" the "word" because we write for the love of spoken word, and "four-word" because there are four of us. Clearly, we were all drawn to this name. But so as to not repeat the falling out of "Blindspot Poets," we all slept on "forword" for a week to see if it would grow on us… and like some dreams, it eventually became a reality.
[Outside Paradise Perks, the venue where we made our debut as forWord.]
Before we even knew it, we became forword! Actually how we became forWord with a lower-cased “f” and a capitalized “W,” we’ll save that story for another time!
- Eddy M. Gana Jr.