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I Got A Name
by Brian Plante

You might think that with an Irish first name and a not-too-common French last name that there wouldn't be too many Brian Plante's in this world, but . . . let's see, on Google there's Brian Plante, the Math guy. There's Brian Plante, the country line dancer. Brian Plante, the marathon runner. The Litigant. Regional Sales Manager. Biologist. Animal Control Officer. Army Sergeant. High School Reporter. Climber. Food Waste Handler. High School Football Player. Obituary Survivor. College Web Guy. Chief Warrant Officer. Ace employee. Go-kart Racer. Media Solutions Provider. A couple more I can't figure out what they do. I guess my writing is the only thing that makes me, the real me, Google-worthy. None of those other Brian Plante's are me.

If I had given it more thought when I was starting out as a writer, I might have adopted a catchy pen name that's a bit more unique than my given name. Maybe I could have used my middle name to make my handle a bit more distinctive, but it's a fairly common name that doesn't really add much to my ear. A lot of authors that use a middle name have a cool middle name. Did their parent's really give them those unusual middle names or are they just invented names to make them sound more memorable? Some of the female authors may be using their maiden names for a middle name, but a few of them just sound too interesting to be anything but made-up.

For example, you all know who I mean when I mention the famous actress Cathy Jones, right? Perfectly fine name, but it just doesn't have that zing, that quality that makes you remember it. But now, add a fancy middle name and you have Catherine Zeta Jones. Oh yeah, you know that name, don't you? It's not the Catherine or the Jones that sticks in your brain, it's the exotic-sounding Zeta that makes Catherine Zeta Jones a memorable name.

If it worked for Cathy Jones, how about some authors? Have you ever heard of Fred Stewart? No? Well, how about Fred Mustard Stewart? I've never read anything by him, but the Mustard sticks in my brain, thirty years or so after I first heard the name.

Others? Roger MacBride Allen would be just plain Roger Allen without his middle name. Bruce Holland Rogers sounds a whole lot more distinctive than Bruce Rogers. Dean Smith would be a basketball coach, but Dean Wesley Smith is a writer to remember.

More? Well, thumbing through the SFWA directory of SF folks I see names like Karen Jordan Allen, Robin Wayne Bailey, Nancy Varian Berberick, John Gregory Betancourt, Lois McMaster Bujold, Amy Sterling Casil, Suzette Haden Elgin, Charles Coleman Finlay, Frank Kelly Freas, Carolyn Ives Gilman, Nina Kiriki Hoffman, James Patrick Kelly, Jay Kay Klein, Mary Soon Lee, F Gwynplaine MacIntyre, Mary Zucker Reichert, Kim Stanley Robinson, Ian Randal Strock, Ann Miller Jordan, Ann Miller House, Leslie Ann Miller (hey, I'm detecting a trend, here), and many more.

So perhaps I can invent something unusual and memorable to sandwich between the Brian and the Plante that may help readers remember my name better and separate me from all those other Brian Plante's on Google. What shall it be?

Brian Kiriki Plante? Brian Holland Plante? Brian Zeta Plante? Brian Mustard Plante?

There are a few school names from my past that might do: Brian Egg Plante. Brian Flower Plante. Brian Beep Plante. Brian Corned Beef Plante (okay, an explanation: it's a play on the brine that the corned beef is soaked in, but if you have to explain it...). On the other hand, maybe the old school names are better forgotten.

Maybe Brian Dandelion Plante. It's different, plays off the "plant" and makes me think of Ray Bradbury's "Dandelion Wine."

Taking a cue from the world's favorite boy-wizard, I could be Brian Potter Plante.

How about Brian Nuke Plante? I kind of like that one. Nuke sounds masculine -- the sort of nickname a football player would have. And, well, the "nuke plant" thing sounds suitably techno for an SF writer.

Then again, jumping on that trend I spotted in the SFWA directory, I could be Brian Ann Miller Plante.

But perhaps it's too late to change for me. I've already got legions of devoted fans who might be confused by a name change and pass up a story by some newbie they don't recognize. Damn, I'm trapped in a name.

So for now, I guess I'm just plain Brian Plante.

Copyright © 2004 Brian Plante Count= 5157


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