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

Writing Drudgery, also known as A Job

I write for a content blog, something I had never done before this year.

When I began considering that I could be a writer, I had different ideas regarding that job’s requirements. I pictured book-conjurings, writing sessions, and pleasure.

I also behaved more jealously about the words I managed to type onto a screen. They were unique, mine, precious, and copyrighted. No one else could have these ideas, and no one should steal them!

Whatever I finally offered for reading would be gasped at, astounded over, praised profusely.

I basically pictured publishers saying, Why, Chelsea! This is amazing! Here is your advance check of $3M. No, we don’t expect you to work really hard to produce this book idea, since we know you have children and like to spend your free time playing games in your Steam Library. Ten years ought to be good.

Meanwhile, fans would pour in, complimenting me. Everywhere I went, people would stop and ask if I’d pose for a picture with them. Famous writers would hang out with me -no- beg me to come over for fireside discussions of literary devices.

This is really starting to sound like a trope daydream, so why would I actually feel this way? Oh, right -probably because many people have this fantasy.

Back to content writing: I took The Job because I was tricked.

A friend told me her daughter worked for a company and they were looking for writers. I was told I would write about 500 words each article about crafting, that I wouldn’t be making the crafts, and that I would only need to worry about the writing.

It involved MONEY for writing. Just so you know, writing doesn’t get you the advance check and the fame and such if you’re not putting yourself out there more than I’m obviously willing to do right now.

The reason I say I was tricked is that I actually have to do more than type words. I don’t have to make the crafts, that’s true. And, by the way, not making things is a great idea for someone like me -someone who had to make a Pinterest account in order to do this job.

I sure get sidetracked a lot, which is something that’s come up in trying to fulfill my contract and get paid.

*Ahem* I have a content-writing job. I write for a blog that steals other people’s images (with proper attribution), and lists them all under one user-loving title. Oh, I know you’ve seen them. The article is usually named “10 Eggcellent Easter Hunts.” Actually, that one would be too clever. Most are “10+ Holiday Crafts to Make with Kids.”

The trick part is that I have to spend nearly an hour tracking down these pictures, ensuring I give proper attribution. So many sites like the one I write for are cheating, simply linking back to Pinterest or not bothering to give credit at all. I can only take one image from an article, so I can’t simply steal all ten pictures from Suzy Stitcher’s Easter Egg Hunt (as cute as it might be).

I’ve noticed addictive patterns related to this job:

1. Not being able to quit.
I’m getting writing practice, being paid, it’s super-flexible, and can’t I possibly buckle down and write five articles a week? C’mon, Chelsea, you baby. Woman up.

2. Relapse in similar settings.
In conversation with other women, I find myself actually interested in their descriptions of a craft they tried or a decoration technique they applied to their entryway. Horrified, I hear my mouth say, “I just wrote about that! Did you know you can find those birchwood wreaths at Target?”
I may as well hand them an affiliate link.

3. No control.
Whenever I have a few moments, I feel overwhelming guilt to get something done on The Job. It should take precedence, right? Must. write. boring. blog.
I have also found myself, inexplicably, walking into Hobby Lobby to peruse their latest glitter-painted yard refuse.

4. Medicating myself.
You’ll find out at some point, but I do not drink alcohol or coffee. Instead, you’ll discover a slew of candy wrappers discarded artistically round my still-warm headphones. Those, plus my exhausted upper half, are spread across a dirty computer desk at midnight.
I need deadlines and sugar for inspiration, and almost always resort to both to get the dreaded task done.

5. Desire without pleasure.
This is my NUMBER ONE problem. Typing heckling comments about birch sticks stuffed in a vase (a real thing) is not difficult. Writing five articles a week, on my own timetable, is probably the easiest job outside of door-greeter at Wal-mart.
In fact, I don’t even have to get dressed in a blue vest (and, hopefully, pants). I just have to be able to use my fingers to press buttons in a readable fashion.
So WHAT IS MY PROBLEM? Am I just a whiner?

I meant to write this post as a sort of exposé of blog-stealing blogs, and instead find myself stretched out on the proverbial psychiatric couch of the internet. No, dear internet, it was not my childhood. It’s my core disappointment in not tackling anything that takes longer than a mile’s worth of effort.

I don’t like writing for The Job. With that time, I could feasibly write my own stuff. I could write more on here, write my halfway-finished book.

Shel Silverstein, brilliant man, wrote a poem about two generals:

Said General Clay to General Gore,
‘Oh must we fight this silly war?
To kill and die is such a bore.’
‘I quite agree,’ said General Gore.
Said General Gore to General Clay,
‘We could go to the beach today
And have some ice cream on the way.’
‘A grand idea,’ said General Clay.
Said General Gore to General Clay,
‘But what if the sea is closed today?
And what if the sand’s been blown away?’
‘A dreadful thought,’ said General Clay.
Said General Gore to General Clay,
‘I’ve always feared the ocean’s spray,
And we may drown!’ ‘It’s true, we may.
It chills my blood,’ said General Clay.
Said General Clay to General Gore,
‘My bathing suit is slightly tore.
We’d better go on with our war.’
‘I quite agree,’ said General Gore.
Then General Clay charged General Gore
As bullets flew and cannons roared.
And now, alas! there is no more
Of General Clay or General Gore.

From Where the Sidewalk Ends, by Shel Silverstein

We, creatures of habit, keep doing what we always have.

I know that I would not spend my paid-blogging time doing any such fanciful thing as completing my book. I would, most likely, decide that was a great time to start Breath of the Wild over and see how quickly I can get into the castle and beat Ganon.

It involves swimming.

Anyway, I’ve got some Pinterest to search. Apparently, Christmas is over and now I’ve got to write an article about romantic Valentine’s Day ideas.