Wednesday 7 January 2015

Don't call me that!

Writers spend a lot of their time on 'What if?' If the question was never asked, there would not be half so many books in circulation.

The current 'What if' that I'm playing around with concerns a change of name. More specifically, a witness protection programme. It might be that you don't get any choice in the matter, your new identity would come along ready made, name and all. But what if you got to choose? How would you go about it?

Would you chose a favourite name? Something that had family associations? Something with the same initials? All those would be understandable choices - a connection with a past being given up. But all of them would have risks attached simply because they are still associated with who you used to be. Someone out there would know, and maybe remember. Of course, that might be exactly what the writer is looking for, but as a reader I confess that poor choices like that do annoy me.

Is it liberating to be able to remake yourself, with any name you chose? What about the practical details, of getting used to be called something completely different? And how different? Would you chose a first name at least that had some similarity with the one being given up? Should you decide on something very ordinary, that lets you slip under the radar? Would it be a chance to re-christen yourself with something flamboyant and distinctive? Could that even be a double bluff - because no one would expect it? A hide-in-plain-sight device?

I think I have a idea of what I am going to do with my 'What if', but I haven't tried it out yet. Then I'll see if it works.


  1. Very interesting post. The whole idea of losing my identity is scary.

    1. I suppose it depends if it is a loss or a chance of a fresh start ...