Friday, November 05, 2010

This Name

This week I approached a few members of the Jaded Empire for some advice on a possible nom de plume I was considering. My rationalization was that I wanted something separate from the blog and my articles, and something that sounded more Dominican. But mostly, I didn’t want to use the name Penzo.

Loyal readers know why, but for you newbies, I’ll spell it out: Penzo is my father’s last name. He and I do not have a relationship- bad or good. We just aren’t anything to one another. With me being poised to burst onto the literary scene with my genius (backdoor compliment!!), I didn’t want to somehow, inadvertently, have that success tied to a name that didn’t deserve it.

I wanted something that would distinguish me as my mother’s daughter, or something to honor my grandparents, or something that people would see and automatically know from whence my people came. The last thing I want is any of the Penzos going on TMZ talking shit about me because I’ve made the name famous. This is honestly something that plagues me and holds me back, hence why I proposed the pen name to my associates.

But the reality is I can’t do that. If I’m currently known at all, it’s as The Jaded NYer or Raquel Penzo. If I publish under a different name, how will you know it’s me? It’ll be like when Jennifer Grey had that nose job- she was unemployable afterward!

I heard this literary agent speak at a recent event about tips to writing the perfect pitch for your book, and one thing he suggested was for authors to already have a community of people who love their writing. Like I have you guys, right? Right! Well, this community of people know me as Jaded or Raquel, so that’s how you’ll know it’s me on the bookshelves, too.

In the end, regardless of how I got the name and what it means to be a Penzo here in the States or in DR, when applied to me, this name will mean greatness. No absentee father can take that away from me.

*smooches...putting to rest the whole name issue*
now I can focus on more important things, like the headshots for my book jacket...