Question about a name.

Okay, can everyone please answer this one:

What do you think of people adopting an alternate, “performance,” name?

Would you want to know the “real” name at the same time, and/or does that make things cluttered?

I think I mentioned I’m telling stories at a local Renaissance Faire at the end of this month, and I’m making costumes for my kids and me.

I’ve never been to one before.  I know some folks are uncomfortable with the idea– because of the potential for weirdness, I guess– but I’m jumping at the chance to do a dress-up day with my family.

It’s a trial-run sort of a faire, the first in town, I understand, and whether it goes anywhere will depend on the reaction to this one.  I hope by making stories available I can contribute to its success.

Since “Amy” is such a modern name I was considering taking an alternate name for the faire, and then (as my mind invariably does) I tracked that question into a bigger one: whether to build a storyteller-persona of sorts.

That is, for the many traditional or medieval tales I love I could play at being a teller of the day.  It’s a fun thought.

Okay, okay  I’ll say the name (it’s probably a bad sign if I can’t even get started.)

Though I have this idea that if I were once convinced in myself this was the way to go, I could “own” it with little difficulty.

Lady Jane.

I wanted to do Byrd Janet.

Janet from my middle name (Jane) and Byrd from the old way of addressing a lady.  It would be the same as saying Lady Jane, but somehow my ear likes the other better.  This would be due to my familiarity with the rhythm of the name in the story of Tam Lin.  (I am currently Miss Amy to children, so it’s not that much of a stretch, in theory.)

But Jay insists I use one of my real names, so Lady Jane is all I could come up with, really.  Any other suggestions?

I’m not sure “lady” is even the right thing to call a storyteller, but I could really think of another title.   Storyteller Jane?

What do you think of the alternate-name idea?

Could you call me (or hear me refer to myself as) Lady Jane with a straight face?

Would it add to the package or be distracting?

17 thoughts on “Question about a name.

  1. I personally think having a pseudonym is a great idea, for storytelling. The Renaissance Festival is kind of adopting a different identity anyways, from a different time and place.

    As for Byrd Janet… I like how it looks, but I can’t say I’m a big fan of it spoken outloud. I almost think it flows better switched around (Janet Byrd). But if you like it, then I say go for it. :-)

  2. I like the performance name idea. But I’m not so sure about Lady Jane. How about the Bard of ( name of town or last name). I think that’s how they referred to wandering poets back in the medieval times.

  3. Wow I just realized that I totally misread the end, where you said you went with “Lady Jane” instead of Byrd Janet. I think Lady Jane is lovely, though not very unique. It does fit the time period.

  4. Dittos on both comments Ashley.
    I mean, I totally agree with the one looking better than sounding, and the other not being very unique.

    I’m totally open to suggestions.

    Bluestocking– I like using something besides “Lady,” but “Bard” sounds too masculine for my tastes. Maybe b/c of The Hobbit?

    What about “Story-singer”? That was the name of my first blog. I wonder if that could be incorporated somehow… I’ve already agreed with another friend that “Untangling Tales” doesn’t quite work for *telling*.

    I’ve always thought of that part more as the opposite of untangling…

  5. I am not totally familiar with your blog yet.. So are you spinning your own “yarns” or are you using Someone else’s or a little of both!

    If they are your own make sure you put a copy right notice right on your blog. You don’t actually need a copyright paid for and all through the government, but you do need to set a note saying you don’t want anyone to plagiarize your material. It does actually hold water too!

    I think it’s a cool idea. I just always look at the practical side first! And i personally like Lady Jane. It has a certain exquisiteness to it. Plain isn’t always bad….you would laugh to know my maiden name!

    Some people, like myself take on a pseudonym for blogging for internet safety reasons! So go ahead and try something new!

  6. Mmmm, I like that, Dedee.

    Happy Mama– My tales are mostly “traditional” with some “literary” that I couldn’t pass up. These I’ve usually dug up the publisher to ask permission for the public performing of the work (I have a file with half a dozen letters).

    As a writer who expects to be published “someday” I’ve avoided writing under a pseudonym (for a variety of reasons).

    I chose “Amy Jane” largely of how it looks and makes me distinct from all the “Amy”s out there.

    I still remember feeling surprised at how it actually sounded being said by a non-uncle. (Like Ashley pointed out, how something looks and how it sounds can be quite different.)

    I’ve sort of gotten used to it now.

  7. OK, so having read your post AFTER having sent my response by email…

    I think it’s your call. It makes sense for this.

    I was thinking of marketing yourself as a writer and of how a pseudonym is double the work, but that all seems irrelevant, reading this post.

    Guess I’m not much help. :) Sorry!

  8. First of all, I think a pseudonym is appropriate for a Renaissance Faire. Even if you wish to take one on for all your storytelling, you are in good company.

    Whether you reveal your birth name or not, someone will discover it and it will become a piece of trivia. That is up to the person gathering the information. I wouldn’t put the burden on myself for my readers getting information overload.

    As to the name itself, should you choose one, I don’t think I agree with Minstrel or Bard — as those are all, well, musical (unless you plan on singing the stories). I believe storyteller is professional sounding enough. And I do sort of agree that you would probably have a profession rather than belong to the aristocracy. I also agree that Jane is more traditional sounding than Amy.

  9. I could not call you lady jane with a straight face.

    I am mostly responding because I loved your verse on the profile, it really spoke to me:

    Jeremiah 6:16
    This is what the LORD says: “Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.”

  10. I like Lady Jane. It fits in with the time period enough not to stand out at the festival but is unique, I feel, as well. Lady Jane rolls of the tongue quite well where some of the other suggstions, I feel, are awkward. In light of all of this you can make the choice yourself and it will end up fitting whatever character you want.

  11. Thank you everyone for your responses. They were very helpful in my… processing process ;)

    To those who voted a different name: I loved the idea, but found that “Lady Jane” sort of defeated the goal of creating a character, as I couldn’t see being both a “Lady” and a storyteller.

    I also decided against “tales” (despite loving “Jane of Tales”– thanks, Jeannelle, for that one :) ) because every time I tried it on someone I felt compelled to spell-out which kind of tale/tail I meant (No, I’m not a dog-trainer!).

    Bluestocking– I might try the “Minstrel” or “Troubadour of” someday, but I feel kinda like Nicole, that I need more music integral to my stories before I’d feel it was an accurate representation of my work.

    (Music– a Capella singing for the moment– is my next self-challenge for storytelling. I want to see if I can work more into the stories themselves.)

    Layne– thanks for responding. I can totally see you respecting whatever name I chose, and that is encouraging.

    I ended up mostly acquiescing to my husband, and using my real name, but mixing in Dedee’s “weaver” suggestion to my final title of StoryWeaver.

    Jay would have best liked it to keep it to a traditional “storyteller,” but I’ve stumbled over that for the 7 years I’ve been doing this: your average American hears storyteller and thinks preschool-entertainment.

    While I have nothing against entertaining children, that is not my first love in this art, so it gets frustrating. I wanted something a little different, to create the bit of a “check” that I could.

    ~ Once this performance is past I’ll probably be back in “novel mode” for the rest of the summer. ~

    It’s a shame, sometimes, that I can’t be six people. I’ll have to do a post sometime on the way I number my careers (A couple weeks ago I told myself designing clothes was going to be #6).

    Thanks again, everyone. Those who know me know this was actually helpful. The best way I can explain it to the rest of you is that I generally have to “try something on” before I’ll know if it will work, and hearing other people’s opinions helped with that.

    Blessings on your day!

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