Thursday, May 20, 2010

What's in a Name?

As if to reinforce my belief that all natives of this area are descended from folks "on the lam," we have a Twinkle running for county commissioner.

Add that to the Pickle that ran for mayor, the Duck in my church choir, the Clouds we bought our house from, the other Pickle in my church choir, the Koors who live across the street, the Ronks who used to live next door, the Barefoots who live down the way, the Outlaw I used to work with, and my friend-neighbor who liked her last name so much, she married a guy with the same last name.

JRM: She's like Sirhan Sirhan.
LTM: Only without all the killing.

So I'm shopping Brand New Novel, right? Well, before I pitched it to agents, I let some of my reader friends take a look. As usual, they've been so helpful in providing feedback--Kindles for all if/when it sells. One pointed out that I'd called a main character the wrong name in a certain spot.

Can I just say (again) I really am terrible when it comes to names?

When I'm meeting folks at a party or whatever, I chalk it up to my being a "visual learner." Somebody told me that once (they shared my affliction), and I thought it was a fabulous excuse for why I'll forget a name two seconds after I've heard it. I don't know what my excuse is when I'm writing.

One of my brother's friends said I should just do like Lauren Bacall and call everyone Larry. I think he said Lauren Bacall... Heck, now that I'm trying to remember it, the standard name might not've even been Larry...

See?

It's really embarrassing to me, but it does make for some funny stories. My mom's favorite is from when I was an (undergrad) editorial assistant at the ECCB. (See debut post.)

In addition to being general editor, Dr. Borck was also Director of Graduate Studies for the English dept., and he was very proud to have recruited Dr. Bob Becker from the history dept. to come over and join our editorial staff. Apparently "Becker" as they all called him was very renowned.

We were planning a little reception to welcome him that Friday, and I was determined not to forget his name. All week I'd done that name-association thing to help me remember. "Boris Becker, Boris Becker, Boris Becker" I'd told myself.

So there they all were, standing around welcoming our newest member when I entered the room and with my most welcoming smile, announced, "You must be Boris!"

Silence.

It's funny how ancient college professors really are masters of the withering glare.

My face couldn't have been hotter, and I was trying to remember if I'd said "Boris" or "Becker." Scott Peeples, the graduate student I worked with most, jumped in and saved my life by giggling, which caused Dr. Borck to do his Letterman laugh.

The tension was broken, but Becker never smiled. I slunked off to get my little glass of champagne and chat with Steve who was also in the doghouse for leaving the tearsheets in his car with the window cracked during a rainstorm, thus ruining them all.

Becker stayed on the duration of my time at the ECCB, but I never saw him again. I'd like to believe it was because we had different schedules. I did get one little communique from him before I left that asked me to do somethingorother. It was the only indication that we were cool. He signed it "Boris."

I later worked for his wife Carolyn at the LSU Bookstore before I went back to graduate school. She was very nice and never once called me Loris.

So unfortunately, I sent out BNN with a main character's name incorrect in one place. I'd like to imagine agent-readers will give me a pass--or heck, not even notice. The names are pretty close. They're practically interchangeable, really.

And there you have it. That's got to be my problem...

I don't know. If I hadn't always been this way, I'd be worried. Anybody got any good tricks? I'd be happy to try one, although at this point, I feel like I've tried everything. My favorite technique is Michael Scott's from the Office. I'd just never remember the name for trying to understand the technique. I'll give you a link if I can find one.

So have a great weekend, whatever your name is!

10 comments:

Jenni said...

Jared calles everyone buddy... I just go along with it now. Sorry if he has ever called anyone who reads this buddy- unless your name really is buddy- that kills us!

LTM said...

and I thought I was Jared's only buddy... :D

JRichard said...

That's all well and good but where is Michael Denison?

LTM said...

He's living in Orange Beach as Belvedere Earnest Flop. "Bel" for short...

Odie said...

Funniest Post so far, should I call you "Boris" or how bout dad's old nick name for you, "Leigh-Roy"?!?! BAH!!! :o)

A Pen In Neverland: Angela Peña Dahle said...

Great. Great. What an experience! Loris the great! LOL J/K. Looking forward to more of course. I'm willing to critique whenever if you are of course...and I won't ignore you if you forget my name either. Hee hee! If it helps we can even give out secret code names, simple little things like "Thing One" or "Thing Two" maybe even just one letter of the alphabet would suffice. Ha ha. Okay I've had my fun. LOVE THE POST!

LTM said...

@Odie: I was a pretty laid-back little kid, but that seriously got under my skin... LOL!
@Ange: Hey! :o) I'll do my best--luckily you *look* like your name, which I've also found plays a role... LOL!!! anticipating future readings~

Odie said...

I think dad came up with that name from that Kurt Russell & Kim Katrall movie "Little Trouble in Big China."

I'm still trying to figure out why you used 'Boris' instead of his real name, Bob, when doing the name association thing?!? Funny regardless, v.much a Bridget Jones moment!

Anonymous said...

What about "YOUNG BOOZER"? just saw his ad. _ this is Kim B. still can't figure this out.

LTM said...

@Odie--My name association was "Boris Becker" for the "Becker" part. In reality, he looked more like a Boris...
@KimB--PamB told me about YB at awards day. I'm tellin ya, they're just makin 'em up as they go! ;o)
(P.S. This blog is very commenter-unfriendly. I hear it all the time~)