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What’s in a name?

My name is Melony. It’s not just a clever title on my blog.

It’s unique. I’ve loved it since forever.

Growing up, it did suck sometimes, though. I could never find my name anywhere. I could find my sister’s and brother’s, though, so it was a little disappointing.

A year after I was born, my sister was born. But even before that, my parents had come up with two names for me. I was to be a twin. Apparently. Well, not really. They prepared for me to be a twin. When I was born solo, they kept the first name. Melony.

The second name? Melody.

They loved it so much that they decided to keep it when a second child arrived 18 months later.

So I have a sister named Melody.

Yep. It was as confusing as it sounds. Further to that, my mom made an honest mistake when naming me. She thought the name was spelt Melody with an N. It was put on my birth certificate, and then some nurse confirmed that it was misspelled, and Momma cried. She’d ruined my life.

My life was never ruined. I was the first born. I was the one with the pretty sounding and spelled name. I loved it for its uniqueness and how it made me feel special.

The injustice was done to my sister.

By using the name meant for a twin, it caused it to appear as if she received the leftover name. And for her whole life, she has believed that. How could she not? They had a year and a half to give her another name, but they chose to keep it.

For years, I thought she was being ridiculous. She wasn’t getting a leftover name. She had a beautiful name, and all she needed to do was forget I was her sister.

But the names had affected both of us. Because we looked similar, people often compared me with her and her with me. When she couldn’t sing a song on-stage and I could, people would come to me and say things like, “well, that wasn’t so hard, was it?”

I detested it. People couldn’t tell the difference, either, so our name became Melondy just to cover all bases. And because of her high-functioning autism (later diagnosed), she wanted to be involved in everything I did.

She had defined my life as much as I did hers.

Our names were easily shortened to Mel. I was the oldest and I was the one that got it, but she wanted that name, as well. But because she was the second born, she became Dee/Dy. She hated the name. Yet, I still call her that today and find it difficult when I hear others call her Mel.

I was in my twenties before I had that lightbulb moment. There’s no way to forget I was her sister. She had a pretty name, but so did I. And my life had overshadowed her own.

I was the writer, the singer, the flutist, and the actress. My dad loved the arts. He was always so proud of me. And I was often in the spotlight, because it’s easy for the arts to be on display. Melody had been the mathematician, physicist, and scientist. He was incredibly proud of her too, and often told me how he was certain she’d go further than I ever would. Only he barely verbalized it to her. So in her eyes, she was completely invisible.

So what is in a name? – Everything. It is the first thing that defines you. Before you even understand anything, you become what your name says. It is generally pretty hard to escape. So when you are given a name that is not good, it can have a negative impact on your life.

There are heaps of studies on the effect of poor naming, and I can see those effects in my life. We had great names, so we were not unlucky there. It was simply our close proximity in age, looks, and names that caused us issues.

I don’t regret my name being misspelled, and I don’t regret having a sister that I love very much. I regret not seeing it sooner how horrible it must have been for her to wish she had been born first. For her to be visible. And for her to be the only Mel.

 

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Weekly (Yearly) Progress Update #5

So it turns out that I had an alarm set on my phone to remind me to write my weekly post update, and during my vacation, I had turned it off. I’ve missed it for two weeks straight, and nearly forgot about it again this week. I’m a day late, and because I’m on the train, I can’t report the exact number of words written. But there’s one thing that’s certain, I’ve gotten a lot of nothing done. Yes, I’ve written, as evidenced by my blog, but I haven’t written much on my book, and for the first time since the year started, I didn’t get a 500+ word story in last week.

The big update of this week is that I won something! It’s nothing major, and it doesn’t earn me anything more than a badge on my blog, but I’m super happy about it, nonetheless! I was one of the winners of the Editor’s Picks on Yeah Write’s weekly contest:

This week was also a very sad week for me, as I’m sure it was for many other writers. This week marked the end of the life of a brilliant writer. Harper Lee was one of my major inspirations, and To Kill a Mockingbird is still my favorite book of all time. The movie adaptation is one that I name as the most faithful adaptation made, and though it still missed parts from the book, it is among my favorite movies, too. I was eleven when I first read it, and I read it again a couple of times before being forced to read it as part of the required reading in my Junior year at high school.

When Go Set a Watchman was rumored to be published, I grew angry. Here was this amazing woman who had decided that she definitely did not want this book to be published, but in her final years, it was being released when I’m unconvinced she knew it was happening. I have boycotted it, and I will continue to do so.

Enough on that, this week I was still writing every day, but most was not posted on my blog. I spent a great deal of time reading other work and providing feedback. I also finished The Martian, bringing my yearly total of books thus far to 4 completed. I started reading Shizzle, Inc by Ana Spoke this week, and I’m about 20% of the way through that. I’m debating on putting it down, though, and going to something else, but I feel like I’ve read too much of it to do that. Besides, I finished The Cellar, and that was worse than horrible.

I didn’t write anything towards my book this week, and this is where I have to admit that I feel my greatest problem lies at the moment. That makes a full month since I’ve really written anything in earnest. Some of that is due to the need to finish 20 books this year, some because of the stories I write for Yeah Write and Friday Fictioneers, but mostly because I don’t manage my time well. I write every morning, but then I don’t spend much time writing at night. I might read, but mostly I’m still watching a lot of stuff. If I really want to have the book finished by mid-year, I need to kick my butt into gear.

But on that front, I did spend the better part of Saturday and some of Sunday reading and making notes on my first draft of Bloodlines, and I’m about 50 pages into it now. The first two chapters are being super edited, too. I’ve decided to change perspectives on both, and show a lot more than the telling I did in the first draft. It’s going to be a big job. I literally started around midday and didn’t really finish until midnight on Saturday. Admittedly, I played a few movies in the background during that, and I was slightly distracted by that. But still, I went through every page with a fine-tooth comb, and I’m feeling incredibly good about my chances of having the first edit done by May, in time to get my second draft submitted to an editor to get it more spruced up.

I spent a bit of time looking up about the editing process, as well, and I’m getting both excited and scared. Scared because if the editor comes back and says I have nothing worth editing, I’ll be devastated, and excited because if there is something there, I may be looking at a late year release of my book. I’m also debating on going with a crowdfunding publisher for my release, but that is going to require me to put in much more effort than I have been, as I feel like I need an incredibly strong online presence. I also might need to look at having a personal editor to help with all my spelling and grammar mistakes through the stuff I just write on my blog. haha

I’m getting there, and hopefully by this time next year, I’ll be feeling much better about my career. 🙂