So, names are an interesting thing. They can be more difficult than I'm strictly happy with.
I don't even mean character names, though that's true too. Starting a new D&D or White Wolf game, I frequently have no idea what to call my character. I run through the options of things that will get made fun of, or get related to things that I have no intention of connecting. If I add a last name, I have to say them a bunch of times, to make sure they don't have a stupid rhythm or something. It's horrible.
But. Then there's my name. This blog is under Jennifer R. Donohue, because that's what my very first gmail address is. I linked it to that one, seeing as how it's my real name and all. It's what my signature is. But really, nobody calls me Jennifer. If they do, I'm in trouble, or we're strangers. Or it's a police officer, the double header of the former and latter.
I never had any kind of cool nickname. We've got friends who have been effectively rechristened, some of whose real names I don't even know (or didn't for a really long time). But I've always been Jen. After a certain age, that is. With my family, I was Jennie for a really long time (I imagine I still am, but I get "Jen" now too). I don't remember what my friends in elementary school called me. I don't think teachers called me Jen or Jennie; that was probably Jennifer too. In French class, other than Freshman year when I picked Brigitte because I thought it sounded cool, my "French name" was Genvieve. You know. Jennifer. As opposed to my friend Lennon's name, which was Napoleon. Or it was by the time I had French class with him; I'm not sure if it was all along. It's actually kind of funny when I mention to people that I had a friend in high school who I called Napoleon, but whose real name was Lennon; they assume "Lenin", you see, which is it's own can of worms.
So, when I'm commenting on other blogs, or even dreaming about my name on that book cover, what am I thinking of? Jennifer or Jen? Jen would be a boon at book signings, certainly (AIM HIGH), but I really do like the way I write my letter f. Is that enough of a reason? Probably not. Jennifer is a fine name, a good name, but it feels like my dress-up name, my be an important grown up name. Not my kick off the shoes (which I always do) and get comfortable name, or my play pretend name, or my dog owner name even. My name is my name, and I have no other (we're not even going to talk about Internet handles.....). It's just a matter of choosing which one.