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"Everybody has a secret world inside of them. All of the people of the world, I mean everybody. No matter how dull and boring they are on the outside, inside them they've all got unimaginable, magnificent, wonderful, stupid, amazing worlds. Not just one world. Hundreds of them. Thousands maybe" ~ Neil Gaiman (A Game of You)

1.07.2010

Nom de Plume

I've decided on my pen name: Shelli Proffitt Howells

My parents named me Linda Michelle, but I've been called Shelli ever since I was three days old. It caused me embarrassment, at first. Painfully shy, I dreaded the first day of school when undoubtedly, my new teacher would call "Linda Proffitt?" I would sheepishly speak up. "Um, it's Shelli." Later, I found my dual personality quite useful. All of my legal documents, of course, were signed Linda Proffitt. I decided to go by Linda at work, to save confusion. When dating, I came up with a screening system for the boys I met. I told them I was Shelli if I thought I might be interested, Linda if I thought I wouldn't. It wasn't fail proof. My future husband called me Linda for weeks. (In my defense, he was wearing a very LOUD suit when we met.) But Shelli is the real me, the authentic me. If I'm going to be honest in my writing, it has to be Shelli.

Proffitt, as you may have deduced, is my maiden name. It ties me to the family I grew up in. And what a family it was! Two brothers and five sisters, a mom and dad who loved each other and each of us. We were loud. We were fierce. We were a mess. We were perfect, because we were so very, very imperfect.

Finally, Howells is the name I took when I married Rom. If my family made me everything I am up to adulthood, then it is because of Rom that I have become who I am since. He believes I am so much kinder, prettier, and smarter than I really am. He seems puzzled at my doubts. He sees me as infallibly capable. He honestly thinks I am talented. He believes in me, and he is absolutely certain ... certain! that I can do this. So, I think I shall.

10 comments:

Nikki~Down syndrome Storyteller said...

Shelli, I love it! You really should believe Rom, because that what we all see!

Tanya Parker Mills said...

Great blog! And it was fun to read about your two names. But I'm curious...why did they start calling you Shelli in the first place?

Lynda said...

You go girl! I'm happy to hear you are stepping up to the plate, and working towards making your dreams reality.
I'm certainly in your corner, and look forward to purchasing one of your many first editions!
xxoo

Rachel Rager said...

Shelli, it looks great!!! Good luck on it!

Terry Jane said...

Shelli, you can do it, just because of who you are where you have come from...like all in this family, you ARE and you CAN!

Love and prayers from Aunt Terry

Amanda said...

I can't wait to read your stuff! I'm excited. I forgot your name was Linda. And your my aunt, you'd think I would remember that. But you've always been Aunt Shelli and Aunt Shelli you will remain.

Shelli said...

Thank you, everyone! What amazing support.

Tanya -- I don't know exactly why, except it is a nickname for Michelle. My grandfather is the one who started it, and it just caught on with everyone else. Perhaps he thought "Linda Michelle" was too high-fallutin' a name. He and my grandmother often called me "Shelli Lou."

Sue Jackson said...

Shelli -

Great start to your writing blog! I'm signing up to follow.

I have two (maybe three?) names, too, though they're closely related. My full name is Suzan but no one - NO ONE - who knows me has ever called me that. My family still calls me Suzie, even though I asked to switch to Sue when I was 13, though it doesn't bother me anymore!

I usually go by Sue, but when I started publishing articles and a book (in my past life/career), I decided that Sue Jackson was way too generic - there must be millions of Sue Jacksons out there, right? So, I've used Suzan Jackson on everything I've published because it's more unique and memorable. My blogs were the first time I used Sue in any sort of writing project.

Ok, that's probably far more than you wanted to know!! Congratulations on the new blog and the new writing goals for the new year!

Sue

Shelli said...

Sue -- I love hearing stories like that! It's fun to see I'm not alone. I'm especially interested because there's a discussion going on right now in my writer's group about how to choose a pen name. Thanks for the encouragement!

Renee said...

What a great place. Fun to read about your two names and how you have used them. I have had names used over the years...in college I was called Sug or Sugar by alot of people, but Joel has always called me Missy, never Renee. I have always liked my name so that is helpful...
This has been fun to think about.
Good luck here!!! It is wonderful your hubby supports you in your endeavor. It really helps doesn't it!