Effanineffable Name

This brief explanation of my pseudonym, dating from March 2012, first appeared on the storytelling site Cowbird, where I discovered manyNamepic wonderful personal stories and even shared some of my own.  The title is taken from Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats by T.S. Eliot (which goes to show that even the most serious poet has a fun side).

Marina Sofia is not the name I was born with. It was the name I wanted to give to my daughter. ‘Marina’ I associated with the sea, with boats, with feeling the wind in your hair and daring to sail forth and explore. I wanted my daughter to be a fearless pirate. ‘Sofia’ of course is wisdom. I wanted my daughter to be curious, informed, fair, learning from people and from experience.

So I waited.

And then I had a son. So I kept the name for my second child. And then he was a son too. So I learnt to love boys. I put the name up on a high shelf, out of sight.

But then, a few weeks ago, a wonderful thing happened. After many years of silence, a creative person inside of me started to break out. She was me and yet not me, she needed a different name. So I took a stepladder, picked up the name from the shelf, dusted it with one swift puff of breath.

And now it is so my own, I cannot imagine being without it anymore.

10 thoughts on “Effanineffable Name”

  1. I had gone to that site once but I don’t go there any more.

    That was a bitter-sweet story about your pseudonym. I just loved it. Now that combination of T. S. Eliot and Marina reminds me of the beautiful poem by the legend:

    “What seas what shores what grey rocks and what islands
    What water lapping the bow
    And scent of pine and the woodthrush singing through the fog
    What images return
    O my daughter….”

  2. I am deeply, profoundly honoured, thank you so much for reminding me of that poem. He has always been my conduit towards the unsayable:

    Living to live in a world of time beyond me; let me
    Resign my life for this life, my speech for that unspoken…

  3. Aha! Now we know – and it’s a beautiful name too.
    I am Holly to most people but tacked on my middle name for writing purposes as my parents apparently nearly called me Holly-anne as a hyphenated thing – but I don’t fancy being hyphenated, so I just mushed it together in one… 😉

    1. I really like Hollyanne – it has echoes of Pollyanna but is not as twee. And it is reminiscent of the South, but not quite, since it is not hyphenated. Good compromise, I think. My mother would have liked to call me Manuela, she once confessed, which would have been a bit too close to Emmanuelle for comfort!

Do share your thoughts!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.