My friend Carol, who I’ve coyly referred to as C on my blog has outed me in my comments to Today is for writing: she called me ‘Jen’ because that’s who I am. (Then she apologized and said she’d got confused – she's easily discombobulated, bless her.)
I’m fascinated by the notion of naming and identity. We do it as writers, don’t we? And bloggers do it too, to not be identified, or to be free to write without judgement.
I thought a lot about names and identity when I started my blog. When I signed up to the novel racers there was already someone on board with my name, (Hello Jen at spiralskies!) so rather than let it get complicated I created an alias, JJ because they are my first two initials.
That’s complete bollocks. I was too shy to say ‘here I am, this is me…’
But over the last few weeks I’ve been thinking of identifying myself. I have no reason to be anonymous – I no longer feel scared/shy. I can see why people who are blogging about their jobs invent an alter ego – Zinnia Cyclamen, (I am so jealous of your name, it’s sooooo utterly fabulous), and Ms Melancholy because professionally they need anonymity. Then there's someone's real identity, like Caroline Smailes and Kate Harrison who are both blogging as a communication tool but I don't fit into that category either. Feeling brave now I realise with what I’ve revealed in my blog, it wouldn’t take Sherlock Holmes to track down the real me. So why worry?
We talked to a friend today who has just got married and so has changed her name. She’s married relatively late, so she’d been with her name for 40 years. She got confused by a name she saw on a sign up sheet today until she realized it was her new married name. I remember worrying after I got married that the people who knew me only as Jenny Beattie didn’t know who Jenny Stevens was. She was part of my identity – I had been her for 25 years – and I worried that they’d never understand me if they had never known her.
Now, as I sit and look at that name: Jenny Stevens, I can hardly remember who she was, like someone I once knew.
One of my favourite name things is that game where you discover your porn star name. Mine is spectacular (I think). The game's been around for ever, but just incase you don’t know how to do it; you take the name of your first pet you ever had as your first name, and your mother’s maiden name as your surname:
That makes my porn star name: Honey Layzell, but you should probably still call me JJ.