Sunday, June 9, 2013

Holla Your Name to the Reverberate Hills (on Twitter and Facebook)! #TBSU

It has occurred to me somewhat belatedly that most of the heroines in my novels use fake names, and sometimes fake personas as well. 

Aggie and Angela in Twelve Nights both pretend to be Aggie. Mary Jane goes undercover (literally!) and is called by her room number, Twelve, in Beauty of the Beast. The main premise in Who Is Candid? is that nobody in the country can figure out who the main character, Candid/Lucy, even is!

Throughout Fantasy Impromptu, Bran calls his protégé by her pseudonym, Chantal. By the end of writing the novel, I had to go back myself and look up that her real name is Helen!

Why all this identity confusion?

If life is art, then the name switches reflect my own life. Many of you already know that Carole Remy is a pseudonym. I was born Mary Carol Moran, courtesy of the nuns singing Christmas carols in the lobby of the hospital! Yes, I am a Christmas baby. At age six, I told my parents that Mary Carol was a baby name, and that I would henceforth be known as Mary. I must have been a pretty strong-willed six-year-old, because no one but my Great Aunt Mary Ellen ever called me Mary Carol!

Fast forward to the adult start of my poetic career. Three names looked better on a book cover, so I became Mary Carol (or MC) to my literary friends. Later it felt a bit misleading to publish 'academic' poetry and sexy fun erotica under the same name, and Carole Remy was born. In a final twist of name-fate, I moved to Mexico, and Mary Carol was too much of a mouthful for my Spanish speaking friends. They all call me Carol!

What's in a name?

Since humans began writing, writers have pondered the concept of name. Now more and more I'm wondering about the same thing myself. I doubt I would have so consistently given my heroines fake names and identities if I wasn't rather conflicted about the whole identity thing myself! 

Is your name your identity?

I will not blot out his name out of the book of life.
Bible, The Revelation of St. John the Divine, 3:5

Is your name a marketable item?

I wish to God thou and I knew where a commodity 
of good names were to be bought.
Shakespeare, King Henry IV, Part I, I, ii, 92

Does your name matter at all?

What's in a name? That which we call a rose
by any other name would smell as sweet.
Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet, II, ii, 43

And it gets even more complicated! In these days of social media marketing, the author name becomes the identity and the sales brand. And YES, it matters!

Nowadays, your author name is your brand. 

As a writer, you learn to

Holla your name to the reverberate hills,
and make the babbling gossip of the air
cry out...
Shakespeare, Twelfth Night,  I, v

That is, the 'reverberate hills' of Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and countless other platforms. In a grand irony, my erotic romance pseudonym is now much more widely known than my poet/philosopher real name.

Who are You?

Do you like your name? If you are a writer, do you write under your birth name, or do you use a pseudonym, or both? How many different names do you use? I go variously by Mary, Mary Carol, MC, Carole, and Carol, and I can't always remember who knows me by which name!

Have you attached an emotion to your various names? To me, MC feels the most intimate in correspondence and Mary Carol in person. Yet 95% of the time, I'm Carole or Carol, names which as solos have come into my life relatively recently.

How does your name relate to your identity? Is your name who you are? Is it a marketing tool? Does it matter to you what people call you? Do you go by different names with different people, or in different situations? Do you have a work name and a family name?

Please join me in the comments, and let's explore the whole notion of identity and names. I look forward to a lively discussion!

Check out these related posts:

    Four great blogs, presented here in the grand tradition of The Blog Scratchers' Union! #TBSU


    1. Thanks for the blog mention. Your site is quite interesting - so many good questions posed. My best wishes to you...

      1. Hi Billy Ray!

        Thanks for stopping by. It was a please to mention your blog. I always enjoy visiting there. Glad you liked mine too. Come back any time!


    2. Thanks for mentioning my blog. You are the best Carole.

      1. Thanks for the kind words, Anita. I love your blog and am happy to be able to spread the word. You are the best too!


    3. Your tweet brought me here Carol/Mary Carol. I use my birth name all the time. When I got married it never occurred to me to change. I like my name, it means something, it has a history. Who wants my husband's name?

      1. Hi Jane,

        I didn't change my name when I got married, either, just when I started writing erotica! It seemed like a good idea at the time. Now I feel a bit schizophrenic at times. Good thing all my names are similar. Anything with a Mary or a Carol, I answer to.

        Thanks for stopping by. I always love visiting your blog.