What’s in a name?


I have a blank name tag… I have a sharpie… and I have no clue what to write on it. Help!

I’ve been HorrorWench and Wenchie. I’ve been Kelli and Gypsy. I’ve been Cheetah, Kay, Kel and Sparkles. Sure, I know who I am. I’m all of those, some of those every once in a while, and none of those on occasion. But it’s not really me I’m questioning this time, it’s the me that is what none of those are. Lost yet?

See, once upon a time there a little girl that wanted to be a writer. Back when she was a young teen and stupid enough to fall for scams and tricks and things like poetrydotcom, she wrote as K.E. Owen. She kind of thought she’d always write under that. But then she got married and changed her legal name and people knew her as that name so she wrote under it, having listened to everything her mentors ever told her but not realizing they’d never had that conversation and she’d never asked. Your name can be anything. Hell, I could change my legal name to Imogene Kennedy if I wanted to (keep your eyes out for a romance novel under that name), but you can write under any name you want—legal name or not. It’s called a pseudonym. See the above mentioned romance novel. So regardless of which of those names “I” may or may not be at the moment, what to write under (or as) has been on my mind heavily the last few months.

Truth or dare? I always take truth. The truth is, when I got divorced I kept writing under Dunlap because of two things. A) I liked where it landed me on bookshelves. B) It was a nice little stab at the ex whenever he went to the bookstore. Thing is, I no longer care to stab him. At all. I’m over it. I’ve moved on. And since books will live longer than me, I want to make the right decision on what the covers say, so…

I was debating the K.E. Owen thing again, going back to my roots and all that jazz. Or maybe just Kelli Owen. I don’t know. You may have noticed the Owen popped up here and on facebook, yeah, that’s me planning—though at the time I was planning on writing something specific under the Owen name and keeping Dunlap for darker fiction. John Cougar Mellencamp changed his, but he just dropped the end, so I need to make Dunlap “just the end.” Of course, the K.E. is understandable, as there are many who write under initials…except there’s this misnomer that girls write under initials so they can pass for men in a man’s game. A) I don’t believe that’s necessarily true. B) I was never good at believing in any type of “boys only” club. C) I’d hate to think someone may believe that’s why I did it.

I’m proud of my maiden name, and I really am leaning toward somehow convincing everyone to know me by that…without legally changing it so that I still match my kids in this age of split households and dysfunctional families and step families and school systems that get easily confused by a name different. Men don’t have this problem. Their names never change. Lucky bastards…

If I’m going to change it, now would be the time. Before the novel comes out. Before the career really kicks into gear. Dean R. Koontz dropped his R after several novels. But that was just an R, and again, he’s a guy. It’s not like he suddenly became Dean Smith. Grrr… it’s a conundrum. And as with all such instances, I’m all for input. The more the merrier. So while I ponder this, and how to change it if I should choose to, how about you all toss an opinion my way. Which works best on bookshelves on the tongue, etc.? Which makes the most sense? Why would you suggest one or the other? Give me an opinion!

Just remember, one of those names up above was Wench, and I may or may not listen to you…

0 Responses to What’s in a name?

  • Dickie says:

    If you wrote under the name Abigiail Aardvark, you’d have GREAT shelf placement!

  • wolfnoma says:

    I agree with the Dickie on the shelf placement but to tell you the truth if you want to change your name with every piece of fiction or non-fiction you write that is completely up to you and your opinion and views will come through regardless.

    I believe what your asking us is to help you DEFINE who YOU are. To assist in your Journey of Life by aiding and abeddding you in your quest of self discovery is both an honor and a priviledge and I thank you for it. That being said no one person can truly define another person nor can one individual truly evaluate another human being and pigeon hole them into a particular category. (TAKE THAT DR. FRUED!) We, as human animals and the caretakers of this mud-ball we seemed to be exiled to are in a constant state of flux and if you ask me I like it. Simply because I am constantly surprised by what is happening with people and their lives. We change, we evovle and we LIVE!

    Someone asked me once to help them figure out what was important to them in their life and I told them to look on the floor of their closet. They got mad and walked away. To be fair, this person owns about 50 pair of shoes and coincidentally enough I have nicknamed her…”Shoes”. Because that is how I view her. I know other people call her other things but in my life and what she represents to me is “Shoes”. I have a friend I work with I have nicknamed “Slim” other co-workers now call him Slim. Another co-worker I have been calling “Scarecrow” for so long that even the Director calls her “Scarecrow” to her face. It is my small contribution to the workplace.

    To me you will always be “Kelli” or “Kelley” or even “KELLY” yes I have called you all of those and they each have a different conotation and vocal inflection. Subtle though they may be they all mean something completely different and are vital for my way of thinking.


    Kelli, you are an amazing person with many facets and I enjoy the interaction and openess you have comfortably shared with us the public but WE are not here to define you. We are here to HELP YOU define YOURSELF. So, go look on your closet floor, you will find the answer there.

  • Gregory Hall says:

    The advice I was given long ago was you should always be proud enough of your work to put your own name on it. Don’t make up a fancy name thinking that will sell your work for you. And with my ego I want people to know what I’ve done. It cuts out any confusion if they want to send you Christmas presents.

    As far as initials, mmmmm. Not a fan of them personally. I always think ‘What is this person hiding?’ and although it’s stupid I have put books back on shelves because of that.

    I vote for Kelli Owen. But add in ‘The VII’. (Classier that way)

  • lu says:

    Of course I’m ignoring the question completely. My brain was caught by you thinking your ex would see something in a bookstore. You hiding an ex I don’t know about?

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