A Rose by Any Other Name . . . Part II

“What’s in a name? That which we call a turd
By any other name would smell as sweet.”

     –  Willie “the Snake” Spear

Sorry, I’m totally into my new novel where the “I character” is sarcastic, anachronistic, misquotes writers who haven’t even been born yet, etc.

Anyway, now you’ve met “Bessie,” as she was called in the original version.  Another warm, fun character.  My sister christened her Clarissa; SusanH added “but called “Issa.”  So that’s where she is . . . for now.

As promised, you now get a chance to live on in history (or perhaps infamy) by giving her a new name.  You did such an outstanding job with Amos/James–a total of 41 names suggested (culling down to 20 was pretty easy; every discard after that was painful)–that I’m delighted to give you another opportunity.

Clarissa was born in 1970, so there are more name options open–although it was still in backwater, S.C., so the distinctive names for black women that were beginning to appear in the cities were still a few years away.  “Sassy, but not cute and not too new-fangled,” the name should suggest.

Incidentally, Bess is the soprano star of Porgy and Bess, my favorite Operetta.  “Porgy, I’m your woman now” still gives me goose bumps.  But still.

Incidentally, Tuesday was the biggest traffic day for this web site (still hasn’t come close to the other one yet–wonder where all those readers disappeared too?).  That was the post on the Medicine Wheel.  I’m sure that says something, but I’m not going to speculate on what it is.

porgy and bessA very young Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald in one of the most famous versions of Porgy and Bess

Sierra Exif JPEGMy personal favorite rendition ever.  I owned it on vinyl, but it’s never been reissued in digital format.  I keep hoping (in case you were looking for a Christmas present for me)


10 thoughts on “A Rose by Any Other Name . . . Part II

  1. I have a question, since we’re on names and such…
    Do you know the name of your main characters in advance? Do they ever change? Is that something you’d ever ask for help on? How much of what your main character “is” appears in his/her name?

    • Bradley Schuster and The Boomer appeared in my mind from the beginning. Arnie Penders was a specific name suggestive of Arthur Pendragon. I polled all my readers for Walter and Amy; told them what the people were like and took nominations. Rick Whittaker also appeared in my head from the beginning and never wanted to change. Sabrina was named after the sassy Angel in Charlie’s Angel. Chai Fox was originally a character in another book; the book didn’t survive but I really liked the name (Tatum also).

      So summing it all up: I don’t always know the name in advance. So far none has changed once I started writing. I’ve asked for help. The name has to fit the character.

      • I thought I knew my characters’ names in advance, but recently I found both protags in a book changing. And I love the change, but what I didn’t realize, (yes it was not planned) is the way the two names relate to each other and to the book’s concept.

        Odd. I love figuring out the names and how sometimes they precisely fit the character.

  2. I like Clarissa; Leone is good too. Cleo (after Cleo Laine). Might she have been named after another prominent black women of the time, black pride being high in 1970? Leontyne comes to mind but the name doesn’t seem to me to fit her (Leontyne Price did a Porgy & Bess in 1953, if that helps).

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