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Tuesday, June 16, 2015

What would you Choose as a Pen Name?

I entered a short story competition the other day. I won’t bore you silly with the details about the story I wrote but it was quite a disturbing story. Scotto read it and turned to me afterwards with an even more agitated look than he usually gives me after reading my stuff.

He looked at me as if he thought I might be a trifle unstable. And by that I don’t mean, he looked at me as if I were an ‘unstable trifle’. 

He looked at me as if I might be psychotic, and as if he wasn’t sure he wanted to continue our cohabitation. He had a certain cautious, uneasy expression of distrust on his pinched face and just put his laptop down and left the room abruptly, shaking his head. 
We never spoke of it again.

The short story had to be about crime and I came up with an idea as I drove home from school last Friday. At first I thought I might write about a teacher who goes off the deep end and starts picking off her students one by one, tying them up, putting masking tape over their mouths and tickling them with a feather until they screamed for mercy… “JUST STOP CHATTING! I’d… the antagonist would scream… “I’M SICK OF YOUR INFERNAL CHATTING! I’M GOING TO TICKLE YOU TO DEAAAATHHHH!”… but I thought one of my parents might unfortunately happen upon it and contact the teacher’s registration board and have me struck off the list of employable teachers.

Then I thought I might change the word ‘teacher’ to ‘bus driver’. I’m sure there are plenty of school bus drivers out there on the brink of a psychotic episode. But then I thought it could actually happen one day and I’d get the blame somehow. You know… for putting ideas into other people’s heads.

So I wrote a story excluding any mention of teachers or traumatised bus drivers and sent it off. Now I just have to win it and become famous.

But the trouble is I’ll never be a famous author because I don’t have a middle name. That’s how much my parents cared about me when I was born.

“What shall we give her for a name?” my mother asked my father all those years ago as they looked down on their scrawny, jaundiced baby girl.

“I don’t know,” he replied, sucking the sugar from a donut off his pinky finger and holding it up in the air to dry. “How about Pinky?”

“Yes, I like that. What about a middle name?”
“Nah. We don’t want her to fit in and be well-adjusted. We want her to always feel like an outsider. Let’s not bother.”
None of the kids or teachers at school ever believed I didn’t have a middle name.

They just thought it must have been such a hideous name I wouldn’t own up to it. I actually got into trouble by my grade seven teacher because he accused me of lying and sent me to the office when I couldn’t come up with a middle name.

I gave all my kids middle names; nice daggy ones so that they’d be laughed at when they had to say them out loud in class. At least they’d fit in, I thought.

Anyway, I thought I’d make up a pen name and I’d workshop it with you so that when I’m famous and you see my name in print you’ll know it’s me.

I always liked those silly names some of the sixties actors had, like Lorne Greene and RipTorn.

If I wrote a medical romance I could call myself, Candida Spore.

A murder mystery novel: Achilla Storey

A fugitive story: Heidi Seek

A school staffroom drama: Matuna Stinks
Okay that’s silly. I just need a middle name so I can fit in with J.K. Rowlings, J.R.Tolkein, P.G. Wodehouse and C.S. Lewis.

When I was a young one I always liked the name “Destiny” like the blonde puppet from the Thunderbirds.

How about “Destiny B. Eckons”?

On the other hand, I’ve also always quite liked the name, Bernadette. It has a certain ring to it… Bern-a-dette Poinker. You like?

What would you choose as a pen name?

Linking up with Jess from Essentially Jess for #IBOT