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?


Photo Credit:
Carlos Quintero

46 thoughts on “A Chelsea by Any Other Name Would Still Be Sarcastic

  1. Writers and married people get to make some choices, which is cool, though women more than men are name traders, for better or worse. I am sticking with what I first put out there (here) for consistency (branding), but kinda wish I’d thought the whole thing through better for better branding. I agree it sort of doesn’t matter, there is no privacy.

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    1. True, that. I forget about how I’m (hopefully) stuck with this name instead of my maiden one and about how there is still stigma in seeing a woman’s name as the author. :/

      Ah, well. C’est la vie encore.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I love it. What kind of dragon would you be?
    And I have to confess, I’m not sure if I’ve seen a Peregrine Falcon in real life…but I’m always looking at birds and for them. Red tailed hawks are another favorite. (Animorphs fans, anyone?).
    The saint and I were driving the other day and there was a house he pointed out to me but I had missed. He pointed it out again that day and lo–a turkey vulture was sitting on the top balcony railing, its wings fully spread out. It was a very big bird and beautiful with its brown feathers.
    Oh and you forgot to mention–the fish in the stream are fake (squeaky toys if we must be honest). That whole vegan thing you know. 🤣 Thanks for the wonderful post, made my day.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. 😀 😀 I totally thought of Animorphs. I was going to say, “mostly I depend on K.A. Applegate for descriptions of animals…”

      *smacks head* Yes, I forgot the vegan thing. I eats meat meself, so it slipped my uncultured mind.

      The turkey vulture sounds amazing.

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      1. I think I’d pick a water type of dragon, like Leviathan from FF7 if you’re familiar. I think that would be neat. I’d get to scare swimmers all day and I could play Jaws music and swim under them. 😉😁

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  3. Smaug is taken, so you can cross that one off the list.

    I use a pen name simply because people can be weird on the internet. And as you mentioned, it does add a layer of distance when you talk about real life issues.

    How did I get my pen name? Because I wrote Star Wars fan fics, and it sounded kind of ‘star warsy’! Yeah, about as stupid a reason as your 12 yo self had, but I’ve stuck with it all these years. Probably because I’m too lazy to come up with anything else!

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  4. A great musing, Chelsea. I am with you. I tried to change my name a few times but it just wasn’t me. But the woman stigma is true, luckily for me people don’t really know if Jordis is male or female. At least not in the US.. But too be honest, I am still thinking about maybe using a different brand for my scifi work, and my birth name for my spiritual personal growth work.

    On the subject of spiritual animals they can change depending on where someone is in their journey. I was bear once, now it shifts depending on what travail I may be experiencing.

    Thanks for sharing, asking and listening!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m all for as many names as you like, cause we’re multi faceted. I like being LA to the WordPress community because that’s my writing name and it feels powerful at have a special name. And I like Mom….so I’m good with whatever you choose

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      1. Whenever I think of someone changing their name I think about phoebe on friends, when she changed it to I think princess consuela banana hammock

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  6. I think the ‘don’t care’ element is something I could use a dose more of. I have scientific writing, and with as much pain as I’ve had with my old boss, I decided I needed to separate my fiction writing from that part of my life. I couldn’t stand the thoughts of some people I know from science life following my fiction life!

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    1. No, no. You have legitimate claim. 🙂

      And, as much as I’d like to pass a non-judgmental test, you helped me realize I judge writers based on their names.
      If only so many women didn’t default to writing romance….

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hmm… I hadn’t thought about women and romance before (but maybe because I see ‘romance’ and immediately stop caring). I’ve noticed that there at least *seems* to be more women involved in writing in general, but that also makes sense to me – women tend to read more, according to recent studies (not cited because I’m feeling lazy).

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  7. I’ve never understood the desire for a pen name. Chelsea Owens has a great ring to it. It’s very musical and could be set to song quite easily. The ballad of Chelsea Owens. People using social media should use their own names and not hide behind fake identities. Fake identities contributes to the negative input on social media. I understand that mine is the minority view.

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    1. I think age has a lot to do with it; also whether the person might have something to lose by being public. Many have lost jobs or promotions, or estranged friends or relatives with something said online. Sometimes the things written are not even that inflammatory.

      I’m with you on the other issues, though. I don’t think anyone should behave rudely. No one should hide behind a mask and insult others.

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