Thursday, December 23, 2010

New name. Let's meet again, for the first time. If you could introduce yourself to strangers by another name for just one day, what would it be and why?

Of course, some people know me as Cookie Baker. That name came into being around 1996, when someone noticed that I had baked more than one batch of cookies in the period of a year or so (thanks, Chuck, for noticing and for introducing me with my stage name). I don't bake cookies too often, but Cookie Baker made a great stage name as I began performing in the area, with my bass guitar, my microphone, and various bands in various genres: Red Dog Blues Band, Blue Denim, The Interns (remember Monica Lewinsky?), Crossroads, Deep Blue C, String of Pearls. I've performed for about 15 years locally, and some folks into live music don't know that Cookie Baker is not my real name. It still might happen that someone will come up to me and ask, "Are you Cookie Baker, the blues musician? I saw you play at ..." What fun to have a pseudonym that survives your involvement in the scene!

When John and I first met, he inspired me to dabble in some fiction, and I created a character named The Cosmic Temptress. As far as John and I are concerned, I am the Cosmic Temptress. This person lives in a different time, probably a different universe, than I do, but still visits the same woods, streams, and fields that we see out our back windows. This person has the time to learn about whatever she is interested in, and the power to draw to her the best minds in any topic. No internet exists in her time and place, though, so face to face contact is how it happens. She is learned, and (unlike me) speaks several languages fluently. She is also artistic and musical; very creative in all modes. Re-reading what I have written about her, it strikes me that she made her own internet by searching her universe for content in the form of knowledgeable people.

Raven Who Follows the Light would be my native name. Native to where? I'm not sure, except nature and the earth plays a more prominent role in the lives of these fictional natives. I've come to respect ravens and other corvids (far more crows visit my woods than ravens, although we have seen some here and at Cole Park nearby) for their intelligence and loyalty to each other. The role of light and its energy in our existence, both physically and philosophically, has emerged as an important concept. I think about it often, and I'm especially interested in attempts to relate light/energy to all facets of existence. I used to try to call ravens to me; I imitated their cries when I heard them at Cole Park. We had a few visit for a short time on some spring and summer days, but they never stayed. That makes me sad, but now I am befriending a trio of crows who count my lawns and woods as their territory. I understand from shows on public television that they might be a family unit, with one crow who is too young to go out on his/her own, or who doesn't want to leave.

Li'l Coda is a name given to me by a student in my classes during my last year at the middle school. I remind myself of it (though more often it is John who reminds me of it) when I am feeling old or detached from young people. It helps me remember that I can always listen when the young are talking and discussing, and I can learn their lingo if I listen respectfully enough and give them chances to demonstrate the meaning they have created and continue to create in their lives. This happens despite all efforts by society to shut down their creativity in the name of schooling. The reading I've been doing this semester has revealed this crushing aspect of classrooms to me somewhat, and I would like to make that lesson more clear to those entering the teaching profession.

I remember one other name that I have sometimes: Crazy Aunt Carol. My nieces and nephews have used this, primarily Brookie, and I even sang solo at one or two performances under this name. I like the family connection of this name, and I like the way it allows for behavior that is not in accordance with the straight and narrow and accepted and expected. It covers an aspect of myself that I accept, most of the time, but submerge quite often as well.

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