Tuesday, February 10, 2004

Of the "blogs of note" on the right, there's a group of them that I think of as my Acentos roundup, even if some of them aren't technically Acentos regulars or, in Nina's case, I haven't even officially met yet. It's more that Acentos is like my second home and these are the people I associate with it. Not coincidentally, all but two use Blogger and several of them - mine included - have Oscar Bermeo's fingerprints on them somewhere. Or should I call him, Oscar de la Palabra?

During any given week a regular voyeur might notice thematic similarities in several of our entries as a particular topic someone raises gets picked up by a few of the others. Most recent has been the question of pen/stage names, whether or not to use them and how to pick one. From childhood nicknames like Fish, to pen names honoring family like Parrilla, to the out-of-left-field like Jiggaboo and Nocturnal (guess who?) - people have various reasons for adopting a name other than the one on their birth certificate.

Growing up, I hated - H-A-T-E-D - the name Guy. (As in guillotine.) It was easily mistaken for the generic "guy," rhymed with random monosyllabic sounds, and was easily converted to an insult with the addition of the letter "k," mostly by my cousin, Joanne. And I wouldn't even acknowledge my middle name, LeCharles, as it made no sense to me. They were weird names and I wanted something that sounded more normal. For years I lobbied my mother for a change, though I could never settle on one name: Skip, Scott, Michael and, in my late-teenage years, Damon were all on my preferred list. There were several others but those are the ones I remember most. Of course, I should point out that I also wanted hair like Daryl Hall for a long time so it was understandable that my mother didn't pay much attention to these requests.

For years, I wouldn't even bother to correct people who mispronounced Guy as "guy" and as a result, there's a whole group of people I met from 1989-1996 that know me by that name. When I got into the poetry scene in 1997, it was thanks to Jamal St. John - who hosted my first Friday night slam while Keith Roach was in Connecticut at the National Poetry Slam - that "Guy" reemerged as he recognized the French pronounciation and correctly introduced me by it from stage. I'd also started using LeCharles again, reclaiming it after my grandfather died. (It was his middle name.)

There have been times when I've jokingly thought of adopting a stage name - loudpoet? angry pumpkin? billy badass? - especially as I started to become better known as a host than a poet, but in the end, it just took too much energy to think of something more interesting than clever and I decided that whatever notoriety I might achieve, I wanted it done in my given name. There was a point, though, shortly before I got married, that I gave strong consideration to changing my last name from Gonzalez to my mother's maiden name, Harper. It still crosses my mind now and then, but that's a whole other thesis!

For your reading pleasure, the Acentos roundup:

Oscar Bermeo
Tony Brown
Edward Garcia
Mara Jebsen
Nina Parrilla
Diane Roy
M.C. Siegel
F. Omar Tlan
Jessica Torres
Rich Villar
EDIT, 2:50pm: I added Tony Brown to the above list as, if he lived in NY, he'd most definitely be an Acentos regular. Also, including me, that makes 13 people on the list. ;-)

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