So, swanky new digs. Hmm, looks just like the old ones. Except for one very important thing. As mentioned in my post on the old blog that announced the transition to this one, the name is different. No, it’s not really a pen name. If I published tomorrow, I guess it kind of would have to be, but it’s really my intended post-marriage name. Not my maiden name, either. It is, however, a name that fits me, and pondering the name made me think a little about how we identify ourselves.
I’ve lived my life in a number of online arenas where you could go by a name other than your own, and in those I’ve met a variety of people. Some have gone by their own name, some by a handle of some sort that was generally meaningful to them. This was something that I always found interesting, because it offered a fascinating look at how different people construct their public identity.
I think we all identify ourselves to others and to ourselves in certain ways that we want to feel represent us. It’s part of constructing our identity and presenting it to the world. This post-marriage era of my life has included a lot of pondering on that subject, on who I am and how I present myself to the world, how I want to be seen and how I shape that perception. I won’t go into the whole thing here, as a lot of it is more personal than I’m prepared to get about it here, but I will say that it’s part of what led me back to writing, realizing that I present myself to the world as a writer and that if I wanted that to be a valid presentation, I had to get writing. The name change is part of that process for me too, because I never seemed to fit into my maiden name all that well, probably because I’m not close to that side of my family. I’ve toyed with changing my last name to Hill for a long time, long before I got married even, because it always seemed to fit me better (in addition to being way easier to spell than either my maiden or married name).
It seems a little silly to have spent so much time on it, but it led me to deeper thoughts on the question of identity, the internal identity in particular and how it shapes our reactions and view of the world and others. I’m finding it’s a useful place to start exploring a character in any of my stories, figuring out what they think of themselves and how they self-identify. With that question comes, of course, the reasons why they do that and how it affects their interactions with others. What I find interesting about this process is the number of times it leads me in a direction I hadn’t expected, or adds a nuance or interaction that, while not strictly necessary to the overall story, adds to that story immeasurably anyway.
Of course, name came be part of that. Does the character use a short form of their name? Why or why not? It’s even more fun if their feelings on that have changed in their life, because the reasons for that change can give you a world of insight into the character. As an example, Fay, from my Mirrors trilogy, is actually Faylanna. But she introduces herself to people when we meet her as Fay, even when those around her call her by her full given name. She’s narrated as Fay because it’s part of how she self-identifies I won’t get into why here (I hate spoilers) but trust me, it tells something about her.
It’s certainly something to think about as I work on building other tales, with other characters, and even to some extent with the cast of the Mirrors trilogy as I am outlining the final book. I’m pushing them all in this, really, particularly in the identity category, and the way they self-identify has to be something I keep in mind, both as a starting point and how it changes through that process. I think that’ll come into any good story though, so it’s an important thing to keep front of mind in a more general sense.
Now, enough philosophizing. Time for the visual stimulation. I’m going to have to go back and update the watermark on my previously posted pics, I think, but that’s a worry for another time.