Sunday, 5 January 2014

The name crazies

Multiple Identity Disorder?
I'll admit right up front that I have more name issues than the average human. I started life with four names--three given plus the surname, a surname that became a compound when I got married and added a hyphen and the surname of my spouse. After the wedding, all I had to do was flash a marriage certificate (cost: 25 cents for official stamp) and changes went into effect on all IDs, accounts, permits and passes.

One divorce later, I discovered that reverting to the maiden name was not a simple matter of dropping the hyphen and second surname that no longer fit. No siree. I needed an affidavit. I paid for that piece of paper (cost: $50) and went along my deluded way thinking all was well in Namesville.

Four years ago when I went to renew IDs and passport, I discovered that all was not well; I needed a deed poll (cost: $2000) because the first name I'd carried all my life was actually the third on my birth certificate. I paid up and figured my naming ordeals were over.

Fast forward to 2013 when a certain government agency advised me that my married surname (the hyphenated compound one) was still my legal name even though I have a passport, two IDs and an affidavit that say otherwise. An affidavit is not a legal instrument, they claimed, and as such their hands were tied in certain matters until I got a second deed poll (cost: another $2000) to officially revert to my own goddamned maiden name. I think I lost consciousness at that point. When I came to, I shut up and put up.

So that was the end of that, right? Alas, no. Name issues continue to haunt me. I write in several genres and I've got one name for the romance fiction persona, another for the spec fic, and yet another version that I reserve for lit fic and the long-neglected memoir. Now there's a mystery novel in the making and I'm considering a new handle for that too, but I've had it up to here with my multiple identities, not to mention the feeding and watering of various social media places that keep them all separate and tidy.

What say you? Should I just keep the ones I already have? Abandon all but my 'real' name? Let one of the existing names do double duty for the mystery? Or should I put on my big girl shorts and add yet another identity to the mix? This thing is driving me bananas and I'm tempted to wipe the slate and just go by The Writer Formerly Known As...