A Chelsea by Any Other Name Would Still Be Sarcastic

I used to be afraid of the world knowing my name. I guarded it like I did my writing. Both were precious, unique things I should not give to the world for free.

There is also freedom in writing behind a mask. I’ve enjoyed pseudonyms in the past because I could then complain about real people in my real life with real details and how I really felt.

Besides the maturity of not-caring that comes with age, I’ve also grown to learn there is little that is private. I realized my name is not so special, and grants me little protection if when I am an insanely popular novelist.

My good friend, Peregrine Arc, recently wrote about the origins of her name and thus inspired my musings. Since I obviously do not use a pen name, I thought to list a couple I have used and their origins. I also wanted to open up the discussion to what name you think I could use as an alternate -buuut, we can cross that bridge when the story arcs to it.

  • Celine des Guimauves – In junior high school, our French teacher suggested we all choose a French name to use in class. There was a list: Monique, Elise, Natalie, etc. I chose the least odious from the list. That ‘middle name’ I added isn’t grammatically correct, but I was 12. C’est la vie.
    ‘Guimauves’ means ‘marshmallows.’ It was one of those words I flipped to in the dictionary and thought hilarious. Again; 12 years old.
  • Celine d’Espions – This was the gradual evolution of my French name over the years of French classes. Technically, the name was Céline d’Éspions, but we won’t nit-pick. The name also gave a nod to my spy-philia; I sincerely wanted to be a spy when I grew up. That may not be a past-tense wish…

P’Arc said she admired Peregrine Falcons, hence the use of the word in the first part of her name. She has an elaborate shrine at home with diving spaces and fish in streams and such, but claims she drew the line at dressing as one more than once a year.

Have I an animal that resonates with me? I loved dogs when I was younger and can bark like a German Shepherd. I definitely wanted to fly but did not want to eat bugs nor regurgitate my food for my young. Therefore, I resonated most with being a dragon. Most of the awesome fantasy beasts would do -even an imp, since I …sometimes behave like one.

Which doesn’t lead at all into my final thought: what’s in a name? I’m not attached to the one I have. I feel it doesn’t fit, somehow. When allowed any time to ruminate, however, I cannot find one that works. Even mention of the one I respond to does nothing to my soul when I hear it. Have you an idea for a name? I could use it for nom de plume purposes since legal name-changes are sticky affairs.

What do you think of pen names? Animal spirits? Your given name? Am I strange in not liking my own?

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Photo Credit:
Carlos Quintero

Skinwalkers, XXXVII

Lingering soporific effects of the sleeping drug dragged at Nathan’s normally decisive mind. The copious steam did little to assist; it wasn’t even doing its job of keeping his skin fresh and usable –tear it!

He sunk to the floor of the tiny bathroom, clutching at his head. Again and again he rubbed at his temples, eyes, cheeks. Wake up! Think!

Had the skin been a rag, a dud? He’d examined it upon purchase. It had lasted more than a tick; more than two full workcycles… With this in mind, he looked up through the mists to take a second, desperate look at the damaged skin in the case. Something about the torn sections poked at a memory; tickled a phrase a frustrated study peer had voiced during their research.

“It’s been three ‘cycles, just fine in the steam bath.” Her plaintive voice broke through his mind-fog at last. “THREE! Why the fudge do the fingers have HOLES?!”

Nathan laughed through his shock. He’d forgotten how Celine had always refused to curse. Trust her to keep to her religious quirks even in the face of a completely ruined Advancement project. She’d been experimenting with the new synthdermal strain’s durability over time and stress, using a skin glove. The experiment had been more fun than most, as he’d often looked over to find her scrubbing at a piece of pumice or literally playing with fire.

Yet her sample had broken apart without reasonable cause when stored…

He rose at once and entered his shower. A brisk rinse later and he stepped to the casing and removed half of the expensive skin with utmost care. Draping it over his left arm, he pressed his right palm against the wall panel to the side of the Skin Conditioner. The panel opened to reveal his private, miniature lab. The small array of solutions, tools, and substances in his secret nook calmed his pulse, as their organized appearance always did.

Beginning at the toes and moving up his ankles and legs, Nathan then applied the bioengineered wonder he’d gambled the remainder of his savings on. He worked quickly. The watch spoke up from the bedroom to remind him that one precious tick had passed, then fell silent to allow him to finish with the second half.

He sealed each vertebral connection and pressed at each seam with care. Fully skinned, he turned to his foggy reflection in the mirror. “One, two, three…” he counted. At every moment’s iteration (ninety jiffs), his fatted hands rubbed across the entire skin.

After three rounds of this, he reached to the wall nook and removed a priceless tube of silicone gel. “Thank you, Nimp,” he muttered, nearly smiling at the knowledge that Nimp had never parted with his rare substance willingly. Nimp was rich enough; one failed iteration wouldn’t set him back as it had Nathan.

Nathan jerked open the top sink drawer and withdrew his toothwash and Suspension Drops. He set them and the gel tube on the small counter top. He spent the next half-tick in another rhythmic pattern of rubbing, interspersed with applications of minuscule amounts of gel. Much to his relief, he watched the gel reactivate the torn edges of each hole. Just as Celine had realized when her glove tore, proximity to Nathan’s own, blemished skin reactivated his purchased variety’s regenerative properties.

The effect was not perfect; he found himself thanking God or Whatever Else might control fate that the facial area had not ripped besides a single line beneath his jaw.

One rinse with toothwash and an agonizing application of eyedrops finished his preparations. His encumbered, blinded sprint back to the bedroom to dress reminded him of his recent nightmare. This time, however, he intended to face a better perspective than that of his dead twin brother’s.

 

Continued from Skinwalkers, XXXVI.
Read to Skinwalkers, XXXVIII.