Before I continue with the here-and-now adventures of April’s cornbread odyssey, I really ought to do the decent thing and answer the question I am most often asked, which is "Is that your real name?"
Okay, that’s done.
Having a weird name (by choice, no less, even though I was too young to have any idea what I was doing to myself, and forever) is like having a tattoo of a red tarantula wearing sunglasses in the middle of your forehead. You might forget it’s on your forehead, but until they know you so well that they fail to notice it, it’s all other people see. Now imagine you got the tarantula with shades when you were twelve, and you’re now collecting Social Security and explaining, at the Senior Center, for the twelve zillionth time that, oh, you were just a kid, you really liked sunglasses and thought it would be a goof (to the extent you thought about it at all), and you never imagined you’d live until your nineties …
I can’t blame anyone for asking, and it’s nobody’s fault but mine, as the old Blind Willie Johnson song goes (Please note: these links are to two astonishing archival videos, far more substantial than this lightweight weird name stuff: in the first, Pops Staples does a version of the song, in the second, it’s Blind Willie Johnson himself, singing another of his songs, on his front porch. The second one… I’d be willing to bet it was filmed on celluloid, in the 30’s or 40’s, and probably recorded by one of those folk musicologist like Alan Lomax. Blues lovers, don’t miss these).
But still. Back to the name: explaining gets old.
Now it’s true that lately some people have called my silly name cool; in one kind post on Anne’s Food and response it even got tagged, "improbable" and in someone’s reply, "brilliant." (!) This is certainly better than what "What, you took too many drugs in the ’60’s?" or (more innocently and somewhat flatteringly, given my age), "I guess your parents must’ve been hippies?"
It is also true that I got contacted (charmingly) some years back by a bunch of over-educated twisted folks who despite their advanced degrees evidently have nothing better to do with their time than create and maintain a site, admittedly amusing (unless it’s your name) called Name of the Year, which I "won" in 1993, and which was evidently so popular that NOTY’s annual play-offs are now titled the Dragonwagon Regionals. However, come on… does one really want to be in the company of "the likes of
Anicet Lavodrama, Unique Wigfall, Babypaz de la Vega Jr., Drs. Jihad
Slim and Barney Softness, Gay Straite, Courage Shabalala, Dick Trickle,
Dudley Softly, Finesse Couch, La’keisha Laughinghouse, Attila Cosby,
Maximum Havoc Steinberg, Dudu Chili, Asi Wind, Shula Hula"?
Well, a little late to consider that now, Crescent.
For what it’s worth, I took a writing workshop taught by Elayne Clift a couple of months back. In one exercise, everyone was asked to rename themselves, give themselves a name that was another, could-have-been self, and write as that person.
All around me, women were writing as WindEagle, Cinnamon, Calliope, Thrive, Juicy Crone.
For what it’s worth, I chose, and wrote as, Jane.
Sleek, pared down, in no way calling attention to itself.
But I do like my logo, above. As you can tell by what the dragon’s working on, it dates to pre-computer days.
Now: are we done on the name topic?