Monday, October 24, 2011

Names have power


Read any kind of magic or fantasy literature and you'll soon find out that names have power. Knowing a person's (or being's or creature's or whatever's) true name gives you dominion over them. Think Rumpelstiltskin. Think Beetlejuice.

On the other hand, if you don't know a thing's true name you don't really want to make it angry either. (Think Incredible Hulk, or any other character who chooses to keep their true identity secret. Would you really like to piss off Clark Kent or Peter Parker?)

Lots of writers choose to use pen names, sometimes because their own names don't suit their genre, sometimes to hide their true identities (just like Superman). George Eliot, Currer, Ellis and Acton Bell, J.K. Rowling, all chose to hide their gender behind their noms-de-plume.

For the purposes of blogging, I'm AJ.  For the purposes of my profession I'm known by my given name. I am never known as Annie. Unless you want to make me angry. And you wouldn't like me when I'm angry.

5 comments:

Dru Marland said...

There's also the business of pointing at the person or thing whom you are addressing, lest a spirit with the same name be inadvertently summoned. Having learned that from The Sword In The Stone, I still do it when addressing something by a not-proper noun. Just to be careful like.

Sandra Davies said...

I'm tremblingly wondering whether I have inadvertently called you thus - if so, I apologise. I feel pretty irate when anyone calls me Sandy.

Jarmara Falconer said...

Hello AJ, I'm known in life by many other names too. A friend asked me why I don't use my real name online... Well it doesn't sound very Gothic and why not have a name of your own choosing online when in life others have chosen a name for you.

snafu said...

A Rose by any other name...

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi AJ .. I know I've called you Anne - but I seem to have reverted to AJ .. or Morning AJ .. I too really want to know people's names so I can call them the right thing.

Another name is ok .. it's the long title of the blog - then no name that floors me - I try and search so I can actually be polite - then I forget!

Please don't send Mr Hulk down here .. ?! Cheers and enjoy the weekend .. Hilary