The Name of the Game

Hello. My name is Sheila and I’m a Name-a-holic.  That’s right.  For years I’ve been convinced the only reason I can’t write fiction is my inability to think of interesting names for my characters.  So I collect names like some people collect stamps or coins or antiques.  If I think about my favorite novels or short stories, I always remember the names of the characters.  For example, my favorite short story of all time, How I Came to Live at the P.O. by Eudora Welty, is chock full of great names.  PapaDaddy. Uncle Rondo. Stella Rondo. Mama.  I could’ve written that story if I’d had those names to work with.

Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn.  Harper Lee’s Boo Radley and Scout.  Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes.  Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women: Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy March.  Laurie the boy next door.  Papa.  Mama.  Or, lest you fear I haven’t read a book in the last twenty years, Amir and his friend Hassan in Khaled Hosseini’s The Kite Runner.  Then of course, the Texas names Sheriff Ed Tom Bell and Llewellyn Moss and the evil Anton Chigurh in No Country for Old Men by Cormac McCarthy are equally terrific.

Well, somebody slap me….I see the problem.  In order to think up great character names you have to be an author with a fabulous name yourself.   Eudora Welty.  Mark Twain.  Arthur Conan Doyle.  Louisa May Alcott.  Khaled Hosseini.  Cormac McCarthy.  Harper Lee.  Sheila Rae Morris.  Aha, that explains it!  My name is so blah my imagination follows suit.  My only hope is Margaret Mitchell.

Oh well.  If I ever do get my fiction in gear, here are a few of the names you can look for in my novel:   Colt Cantrell.  Chance Cantrell.  Charlie Cantrell.  (Three Texas brothers for sure.)

My Twins Collection so far:  Leon and Lon Lane.  Madell and Adell Tolliver.  Winnie and Minnie McCune.

If the novel includes horses, the mare’s name will be Nacho and her foals will be Frito and Dorito.

Possible heroine names: Sequoia Potter.  Ethel Lorraine Wilson.  Maurice Sawyer.  Carolyn Briggs.  Willie Joe Boaz.

Possible hero names:  Cotton Lyles.  Harvey Wilson.  Forest J. Hutchinson.  Lester “Gene” Archer.  Vannoy Stewart.

As for plot to go along with this potpourri of  names, I plan to start with the fact that Whitney Houston’s mother Cissy Houston was once one of Elvis Presley’s backup singers.   Now, that’s a story just waiting to be told.

I’ll get right on it.  I predict Mama will be one of the principal characters.

About Sheila Morris

Sheila Morris is a personal historian, essayist with humorist tendencies, lesbian activist, truth seeker and speaker in the tradition of other female Texas storytellers including her paternal grandmother. In December, 2017, the University of South Carolina Press published her collection of first-person accounts of a few of the people primarily responsible for the development of LGBTQ organizations in South Carolina. Southern Perspectives on the Queer Movement: Committed to Home will resonate with everyone interested in LGBTQ history in the South during the tumultuous times from the AIDS pandemic to marriage equality. She has published five nonfiction books including two memoirs, an essay compilation and two collections of her favorite blogs from I'll Call It Like I See It. Her first book, Deep in the Heart: A Memoir of Love and Longing received a Golden Crown Literary Society Award in 2008. Her writings have been included in various anthologies - most recently the 2017 Saints and Sinners Literary Magazine. Her latest book, Four Ticket Ride, was released in January, 2019. She is a displaced Texan living in South Carolina with her wife Teresa Williams and their dogs Spike, Charly and Carl. She is also Naynay to her two granddaughters Ella and Molly James who light up her life for real. Born in rural Grimes County, Texas in 1946 her Texas roots still run wide and deep.
This entry was posted in Humor, Lesbian Literary, Life, Personal, Random, Reflections, Slice of Life, The Way Life Is. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to The Name of the Game

  1. Margo Moon says:

    This was delightful! What a change of pace, when I’ve just read three very heavy discussions. Thank you, sincerely.


  2. Change Charlie Cantrell to Cash and you have a novel!!!
    I think my face is going to crack from laughing, Sheila.
    I know you can write a novel and I’m looking forward to reading it. Don’t throw your pen away! 😀



  3. You’d better keep your paint brushes, too, then! Of course, Cash Cantrell is perfect – I will make that correction! 🙂


  4. I just KNEW you were going to bring up Scout! I love this post! And your name fit right in. I didn’t even blink.


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