Saturday, September 1, 2012

What's in a name?

I've given some thought, since writing my first blog,  to its proper naming.  My daughter tells me Anne Carlisle's Blog is not where it's at.  So, I began to think on improving it....and some candidates quickly emerged:

In my college days, I wrote a weekly editorial column. It was illustrated with cartoons. To my great surprise it was singled out by the American Newspaper Publishers Association when they awarded our weekly newspaper a national prize.  My column was a satiric glance at all things comically collegiate, and it was called "Anne-alysis."  I wrote it in the style of a writer I loved and whom I had the opportunity to interview:  Art Buchwald.  He inscribed his book to me:  "Anne, stay out of my business." 

I was a GDI--a Goddamned Independent. The Dean of Students, a former sorority president, took great exception to my satiric slant on the goings-on of frat brothers and sorority sisters.  And she wasn't my only critic. My predecessor in the spot of editorial columnist was an investigative journalist named Byrd, and his column was "A Byrd's Eye View."  He took a dim view of my cavalier, nerdy attitude toward campus revolution and other important things going on in the late sixties.  He wrote me a letter "from his sleeve" and advised me to "cease talking up it."

My next thought was to align myself with the denizens of darkness and depravity that are legion in the field of paranormal/abnormal/dysfunctional romance that I seem to have wandered into. Perhaps  I needed a moniker that was dripping in blood, semen, or saliva.

Might a giant insect do? 

I considered calling my blog  Preying Mantis, or better yet, Praying Mantis.  Doesn't she attract, then eat her mate?  Have I not vowed to follow in Nora Ephron's footsteps and find my revenge in writing well and killing off ex-husbands, one by one?  One can make the case I've already killed off two, another is slated for Book II, and my current husband is wary of what might happen to him in Book  III. He needn't be, though. (I promise, Mark)

But what if the ghoulishness in my work recedes as I move forward?  What if I run out of exes to kill off?  Will the big bug still seem like a fitting umbrella for my monthly blogs of wisdom?

The journey was then lightened, providentially, by a stroll down memory lane, thanks to Facebook responses from high school acquaintances back in Ashtabula, Ohio, where I was born and raised, as the expression goes.  They were more than kind and less than kin, raising questions like "Who's she?"  Good question.  I haven't lived in that town in more than two decades.

Wasn't Anne Carlisle the popcorn man's grand-daughter, someone asked?  And yes, indeed, I am.  Finally, I thought I had arrived at the end of my journey.  I smiled at the shiny image of my grandfather's old-fashioned popcorn-and-peanut cart in the downtown park. His stand was beloved by everyone in town but no more so than by me.  It was and is the ultimate symbol of my small town life. I told my husband I'd found a title: The Popcorn Stand.

But then, in my wanderings on the internet, I came upon an interesting factoid.  The Ghost Orchid, which takes its sustenance from the air, not the ground, thrives only in Florida.

Now, when it comes to writing, first and foremost, I belong to Key West and nowhere else.  Key West, during the nineties, was where I got my writing chops back.  I edited,  reviewed, and wrote features for a monthly magazine, Solares Hill, for almost a decade.  I was privileged to interview famous writers (Kurt Vonnegut, Peter Matthiesen,  Thurston Clark, JoAnne Akalaitis, Wendy Wasserstein, and Nancy Friday, to name a few) who wandered into the Key West Literary Seminar in January, visited, or lived there.

And it's also true a ghost is a major character in my trilogy, which is 2/3 done.  The first book is out, the second is nearly completed, and the third is out there in the air.  I take my sustenance from the air, which is where words, names, images, and the imagination connect.

So Ghost Orchid it will be.  See you in October.

Anne Carlisle

other links to follow me and find my book, "HOME SCHOOLING: The Fire Night Ball"
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