It’s all about names for me.
Some time ago…I don’t remember when and I don’t recall where… I picked up a mini magazine – fitting in the palm of my hand it didn’t even cost $2. Yet, next to my beloved dictionary and trusty thesaurus, it ‘s my most valued tool.
The title of this treasure? More Than 1,000 Baby Names.
You see, for me, a character – much like us real life folks – doesn’t start to really breathe until you give it a name.
I’m not sure why i feel this way, but I suspect it has something to do with my own name being Monice, instead of the normal Monique or Monica.
As a child, I hated my name.Folks always mispronounced or misspelled it.
At one point, I was so done with correcting folks, that I changed my name to monica and wouldn’t answer to anyone – my momma and teachers included – who called me by that other name.
Years later, I, as media queen Oprah, herself once admitted, grew to love my unique name. (It really is a cute story how my mother, came up with it. Involves a flower girl named Monique and my momma not feeling the last three letters of her name.)
But, I digress…
I truly believe that thanks to my personal baggage with my own moniker, that’s why names are so important to me.
It also explains why I couldn’t stop thinking about “She.” This fictitious woman was alive, up walking around and talking, but I hadn’t named her yet.
And I hadn’t named her, because, although she was inspired by my late grandmother, I didn’t know her.
Luckily, though, I knew at least one person who did know her. Her momma, Excellent.
Ironically, when my long abandoned late great-grandmother inspired tale came to me, the first thing 13-year old Excellent did was introduce herself.
She, like me at that age, didn’t like her name. So, of course when Excellent had her baby girl, she wouldn’t dare bestow her child with an unhappy name. Now, would she?
Merry. That made sense to me. Completely logical, right?
Then tell me why – months later in my writing and years gone by in my story, when Excellent and Merry spoke about how the girl got her name – did Excellent, my character, give me the finger and tell Merry a completely different reason?!