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  1. Laurie Price

    Hi Tim — I’m not really sure if the 2 woodcarvers I learned the word for this kind of curly wood shaving were of Arab or Berber origins, but the word I learned when I lived in southern Morocco was “nejara” (this is my own phonetic spelling of it).

    The fact that it was so close in sound to the word for wood powder (when the wood is filed) — “neshara” (again, my own phonetic spelling) — prompted me to imagine that in some future I might have 2 cats, choose one of those names and when called out, both cats would come … this made my woodcarving friends laugh … & they insisted that I repeat my explanation several times …
    When I moved to Spain (where I still live) and was gifted with a beautiful abandoned Siamese mix cat, I began calling ‘him’ N’jara (I pronounce this name “enjara” — my own bastardization on those words) … only to discover a few days later that ‘he’ was not a ‘fixed’ male, but a female … but the name didn’t change, since I felt it was gender non-specific and a perfect name for a cat.
    — I’m a poet who has always had an affection for words that contain double consonants … such as tjanting, for instance — I’m sure you know this word from your travels in Asia — it’s the name of the tool used for making batik, something I used to do in my late teens and early 20s —
    Anyway, I thought you might enjoy this word, “nejara” — & its sibling word, “neshara” for their sounds … which I also imagined I could hear as those 2 woodcarvers worked.