Friday, April 27, 2012

What's In A Name?

You may notice a change on my blog...then again you may not.

After much internal debating, I have decided to change the name I use for my blog from my formal given name to the nickname that I have been called ever since I can recall. I've never really used my given name...ever. Not really. I've heard it called out at graduations and during the roll call on the first day of class. "Johanna," the teacher would call out. "Here," I'd say, "but please call me Josie." More than once I've wondered why I wasn't named Josie in the first place.

When I had my own children, I named them each with the intention of avoiding nicknames completely. I thought I could avoid the same pitfall of confusion for them. Did it work? Not really. I've discovered that no matter what the name, kids will find a way to change it. They'll find a way to customize it to their liking. Name your daughter Emily and she'll become Em. Stewart becomes Stew. Even when you think it can't be done, they find a way...even if they have to elongate it to be different. Suddenly they'll become Paulie instead of Paul. I think kids do it just to claim their own identity. They need to let us as their parents know that although we gave them the name in the first place, they will tweak it a little just to say they did. Just to claim that little bit of independence.

But that wasn't my situation. I doubt I was ever called my given name since the day I was born. My formal name was just that...a formality.

So when I began to submit my books to agents, I thought using my given name would be the thing to do. It sounded more writerly I thought. But lately, it's gotten confusing -it just doesn't feel like me. And frankly, nobody I know would even recognize it. So I've decided to become more authentic. I've decided to just be little 'ol me. Josie.

After all, how important is a name anyway?

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