I know this will come as a shock, but Pythagoras is not my husband’s real name.
In fact, his first name is a fairly common one. At least once a week, we’ll be out somewhere and a stranger will call his name.
Somehow, Pythagoras always seems to know when he’s truly being summoned and when the stranger is shouting for someone else with the same name.
“Doesn’t that drive you nuts?” I asked once. “Having so many other people with your name?”
“Not really," he said. "It’s more like we’re all in a club.”
Personally, that would drive me batty. I’ve always liked the fact that I don’t have to share my name with many people. My mom came up with it by blending her best friend’s name (Tanna) and my grandmother’s name (Donna).
Though I’ve met the occasional “Tona” or “Tana” who pronounce their names the same way I do, I’ve only met one other “Tawna." She was working the cash register at a local bed and bath store, and I was inexplicably annoyed when I saw her nametag.
“Your name is Tawna?” I asked.
“That’s unfortunate,” I told her. “You’ll have to move. There’s only room for one of us in this town.”
I swear she knew I was joking, but when I returned to the store a month later and asked if Tawna was working, the clerk gave me a funny look. “She moved away.”
Like many authors, I use Google Alerts to notify me when my name is mentioned online. Any use of “Tawna Fenske” is me 100% of the time, which is a relief.
I always feel for authors like agency sistah Linda Grimes (who recently blogged about sharing a first and last name with a Justin Bieber fan) or author Sean Ferrell (who, it must be noted, uses the Twitter handle @byseanferrell and NOT @seanferrell – a handle claimed by an Episcopalian priest who’s probably making all kinds of interesting new friends in light of the amazing buzz surrounding author Sean Ferrell’s upcoming debut, NUMB).
When it comes to my first name, Google Alerts is seldom talking about me when it notifies me that “Tawna” has been mentioned online.
Apparently, there’s a Tawna who is a character in a video game, and another Tawna who is…well…I’m actually sure what she does, though she describes herself as working in the “entertainment business”
Does anyone else find this name thing fascinating? Is yours a common or uncommon name? How do you feel about that? If you’re an author, do you have any plans to use a pseudonym with your books?
Please share in the comments. I’ll be busy shouting “Pythagoras” at my husband to see if I can get him to turn around.