What’s in a Name?

The story of a small portion of my life is included in a book that is scheduled to come out in the next year or so (I think.)  When I wrote it, I used my real name, with the understanding that the editor would replace it with a pseudonym later on.  So when I got the chapter back for proof, I saw that my name was… Frances.  Frances!  I was on the one hand a bit disturbed, because to me Frances sounds dowdy, but on the other hand enormously flattered, because I thought immediately of course of the way-ahead-of-her-time Frances Farmer, and who doesn’t want to be compared with a woman who wrote an essay at age seventeen titled “God Dies?”  I mean, honestly.  So maybe rather than dowdy, the editor envisioned me as a moody beauty?  Below are a few other cool ladies named Frances, the first one named after the aforementioned cool lady named Frances.

Frances Bean Cobain

Frances of Rome, Italian Saint and mystic (again, just. like. me.) who wanted to be a nun at eleven but whose parents forced her to marry at twelve.  She had a good marriage, founded a religious order, and turned her home into a hospital during a time of war, among other good deeds.

a whole bunch of duchesses and countesses

Frances “Scotty” Fitzgerald, only child of F. Scott and Zelda, poor thing

Frances Hodgson Burnett, author of The Secret Garden, which was  porn for smart little girls like me

Frances “Franny” Glass (J. D. Salinger character)

Frances “Baby” Housman (“Nobody puts Baby in the corner!”)

There are a few more who look like they’d be worth mentioning, but I’m on a train while writing this and getting a little naush.

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