Wednesday, August 3, 2016
What's My Name?
My parents named me Janet because my mother was proud of her Scottish heritage. At that time it wasn't a common name for girls in the USA.
A few years later when Janet Leigh became a famous movie star lots of girls were named Janet.
When I was a kid I wanted a nickname, but after WWII everyone "knew" Jan was a name for boys in Holland (They didn't realize it was pronounced differently,) and Janny sounded too much like Jenny. That was known as a name for donkeys and mules.
I was stuck with just, plain Janet.
But the day I got married, people started calling me Jan Collins because the final T in my first name and the hard C in my new last name were difficult to pronounce together.
Of course my family and old friends continued calling me Janet. For decades I knew certain people would call me Janet while others used Jan, and that was no problem.
But now it is a problem.
I'm in several writers' groups and some of them have other members named Jan, so in those groups I'm called Janet. But other groups have members besides me named Janet, so in those groups I'm Jan.
One person is in several of those groups with me, so I never know what I should call myself when communicating with him.
When I send e-mail messages to other writers I have to stop and think which of my names to use.
Nobody has ever called me Janet Ann except my mother when she was mad at me, but I use that name for professional things because there's another writer named Janet Collins.
Maybe I should just call myself Janet Ann. At least I can use that in all my e-mail signatures. I hope nobody is mad at me, but doing that should avoid some confusion.