Sorry, Shakespeare, but in reality, names do matter. A name is not just a jumble of meaningless letters. Names are important.
Why? Names have power: they identify us, not just on the outside, but in our whole being. Names are linked with whatever attributes others call us: "Jane, you're beautiful!" "Kirk, you're smart." "Lily, stop being so stupid." All these attributes link our name to a mass of emotions, both positive and negative.
Think about it: you've done something wrong, how does your mother call you? That's right. By your full name. Try saying your name out loud--your full name. Even just saying it should give you a sense of some of the emotions and connections you have with your name.
In legends old and new, knowing a person's true name gave you power over that person (you can see this idea in Christopher Paolini's Eragon, the Earthsea Cycle of Ursula K. Le Guin, and others). Even way back in the Odyssey, Odysseus hid his true name from the Cyclops and called himself "Nobody." Clearly, almost everyone recognizes the power that a name can hold.
2. My real first name is difficult to pronounce or spell (it's unique, though, which is always special). I needed something that people could recognize, pronounce, and spell at first glance -- and there, as we know, "Sienna" does the job perfectly. What's more, it's a bit unusual, and I love the sound and shape of the name.
3. Finally, I used a pen name for privacy. It's not that I'm antisocial and want to live the life of a hermit writer, but, like many workers, I want to preserve the distinction between my private and public/work "appearance."
Next, with the change in focus of the blog, I've been thinking a lot about what to do for a blog name. When I polled you, here's what you said:
- 14 said keep it "Of Faerie & Faith"
- 7 said change it to "Of Fiction & Faith"
- 3 said change it to "Sienna North ---"
- 3 said change it to something else
- 1 said change it to "Whispers of a Dreamer"/some related name
And that brings us to the end of this somewhat disjointed post on names. Now for you: what's the story behind your name or blog name? Any tips on choosing (or not using) pen names that you want to share?