Monday, June 22, 2015

CALLED BY NAME - Mazzy Adams

One of the great joys of having children is the fun of choosing their names; at least, it becomes a joy once you get past the wrangling (as in ‘will Great Grandpa Gatsby ever forgive us for calling our son Scott Fitzgerald G.?’).  

When my husband and I chose names for our children, we opted for meanings which represent our prayerful desires and prophetic blessings for them, believing that every time we call them by name, our prayers and blessings are reiterated. How delighted we are that our adult children embody the very blessings we bestowed.

Name choices are significant for writers too. Character names, book names – we have to choose names more often than the average Jo. I have written stories with characters that seemed to name themselves. Other times I’ve gone searching for the ‘right’ name. Often my choice is influenced by the meaning of the name.


Sometimes, we rename ourselves. There are numerous blogs and articles on the subject of authors’ pseudonyms and the reasons for them. I was happy publishing under my own name, until I wrote THAT story; one that had to be written; one that begged to be published; one that spoke to the power of God’s grace to heal victims of physical and sexual abuse; one that spoke of the overwhelming responsibility every adult has to protect our children from predators; one that challenged the wall of silence that has kept many adults, myself included, isolated in a room of pain, filled with unspeakable memories.  If only that story was fiction. But it wasn’t. It was the all-too-true story of my childhood.  

Writing THAT story was also a turning point for me; one that brought healing as I wrote it, and more healing as I shared it with my siblings. So, did I really need to publish it? As I prayed and agonised over that question, the answer was a clear yes. Not because the world needed another story about abuse. But because there can never be enough stories about the power that positive action, repentance, forgiveness and reconciliation have to overthrow evil and release healing, wholeness, and goodness again. You see, the man that abused me as a child, died the same day he truly repented of his sins against me; in his place, I received a loving father who would also be a wonderful grandfather to the very end of his days. For that reason, when my story, Releasing Rainbows, was chosen for publication in the inaugural issue of Snapdragon, A Journal of Art and Healing, I used my pseudonym.  



I prayed much about that name choice too.  After all, God’s an old hand at name-changing: Abram/Abraham, Sarai/Sarah, Jacob/Israel and Simon/Peter all had name changes at his instigation. In each case, their names were changed to reflect God’s calling and plan for their futures. God had a bigger vision for them than they or their parents had had. He wanted to call that future into being, and keep calling it in until it blossomed to his glory.  With that in mind, I chose the pen-name Mazzy Adams; Mazzy which means ‘precious’, and Adams to represent all humanity; a new name to call into being a specific hope and purpose: to write stories which will bring blessing, encouragement, healing, wholeness and goodness to every precious person that reads them. After all, God is in the business of making people new again.     

How do you choose names for your literary characters? Do you consider the meaning and blessing (or curse) inherent in those names? Have you thought of using a pen-name, perhaps one that speaks God's calling into your work? God himself is known by many names; each represents his perfect qualities present and active as his name is uttered. Great Author of Life, will you please write your perfect desires into our literary lives too?



If you would like to read Releasing Rainbows by Mazzy Adams, it can be found in the inaugural issue of Snapdragon: A Journal of Art and Healing, an online journal filled with dynamic and uplifting poetry, images and creative non-fiction pieces that reflect the healing journey.  http://www.snapdragonjournal.com/store/p3/The_Inaugural_Issue,_March_2015.html  


15 comments:

  1. "there can never be enough stories about the power that positive action, repentance, forgiveness and reconciliation have to overthrow evil and release healing, wholeness, and goodness"

    So true.

    Thanks for sharing, Mazzy.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Iola. You have inspired many of us to persevere in the face of obstacles in order to see good news published. Many thanks especially for the encouragement you gave me in the very early days of this journey.

      Delete
    2. Fabulous words those, Mazzy. Yes, there are never enough such stories. Thank you for encouraging us to keep persevering with ours.

      Delete
  2. Hey Mazzy. Character names mean a lot. I agree. I named my MC in my middle-grade novel after my grandmother. The name just fit. I understand why you published under a pseudonym. What hard childhood memories to have to come to terms with. I am positive writing the story helped. Writing out stuff always helps. Somehow it's released into the air. Not that the pain goes away. But it helps. Thank you for a most thoughtful post. I truly enjoyed reading it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Robyn. It can be a lot of fun finding the names that 'just fit' as well. I was drafting a short story when a friend dropped by. I was looking for a name for a ship and she was quite happy to offer hers for a good cause! And yes, although there is still personal pain in the aftermath and the memory, this is the first time in my life that I have seen something positive emerge as the story brings help and hope to others. The suffering doesn't seem so pointless and wasted as it once did.

      Delete
  3. What a fantastic post, Mazzy. Good on you for having the courage to share that difficult journey. I'm sure it will bless many. And what a great new beginning to choose a name of blessing so that you can walk into God's promises. May he continue to bless your writing beyond your wildest dreams :)

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thanks Nola. I'll say amen to that!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hi Mazzy. Thanks for sharing. I enjoy the challenge of choosing names for my characters - usually having to invent them as I write fantasy, though I often do base them on real names or words in other languages. Great that you found healing in writing and sharing your story. I'm sure God will (is) blessing others through your courage and honesty.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Thanks Jeanette. I haven't tried writing fantasy per se although I've had a few ideas floating around along those lines.Creating fantasy names from scratch sounds challenging and exciting. Imagine if one of the names you create finds its way into the new baby name charts. I sometimes look to other languages for surnames though.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Wonderful post, Mazzy. And fascinating to know the meaning, also the subject you wrote from your heart.
    My MC is named Charlotte. I planned for her mother to use the first four letters of her supposedly dead husband's name. Then I looked it up and found it is a diminutive of 'Charles' That was a nice surprise.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Rita. I love the name Charlotte. To me it sounds elegant and sophisticated and pretty-baby-pink all rolled into one. It's exciting when our instincts surprise us isn't it?

      Delete
  8. The gift of writing brings so much to both the writer and the reader doesn't it?
    Thanks for your post Mazzy!

    ReplyDelete
  9. The gift of writing brings so much to both the writer and the reader doesn't it?
    Thanks for your post Mazzy!

    ReplyDelete