I once read an essay by the author John D. MacDonald on the subject of writing, or maybe, to cut a little closer, authorship; Mr. MacDonald was the author of the vastly entertaining Travis McGee series of books, as well as the novel The Executioners, which was the basis for both of the “Cape Fear” movies (1962 and 1991). He won high praise from many of his contemporaries, including such literary luminaries as Stephen King and Kingsley Amis, as well as a slew of awards for his work.
In his essay, Mr. MacDonald spoke at length of a writer’s fascination with, yes, even his/her addiction to, words…he felt strongly that any writer (author) has to immerse him/herself in words, wallow in them, become intimate with them, as a prerequisite to being able to “write”.
Oh yeah, I totally get that.
I love words…for years they have been my solace and my delight. At the risk of tooting my own horn, which is not, despite how it sounds, a euphemism for self-pleasure, I have been endowed with a command of our language, of a facility for expression that came from much effort and study on my part; it didn’t happen by accident. I love word-puzzles, I play silly games with words in my head (case in point, saying words backwards to myself…did you know that the word “republicans” pronounced backwards comes out as “snacilbuper”? Say it out loud…it’s a lot funnier), I look up words that I come across when I don’t know their meaning, and generally, as Mr. MacDonald said, I make every attempt to immerse myself in the language.
Some time back, I had dabbled with another blog that I had created, more of a fantasy-type thing with fictional characters in strange situations; it was meant to be humorous (and it wasn’t always, which is why I stopped writing it) and much of the “humor” was to be gotten from the “words” I used.
That was the intent at the time, anyway.
Naming my fictional characters became a study in wordplay for me…just how silly could I get using silly names? As is so often the case, I am consistently the one person I can count on to laugh at my nonsense; indeed, I am my own biggest fan. (What, that surprises you in the era of a Donald Trump presidency? Anyway, see my post (“VANITY, THY NAME IS CAP’N JOHN” 11/11/17.) Making up silly, play-on-words names for the people that populated my stories became a big game for me, one that I played with great relish.
For no other reason than wanting to revisit the list I compiled of “Names I Wouldn’t Want To Give A Child, At Least Not One Of My Own”, I’ve decided to share some of the better ones with my faithful (and long-suffering) readers.
Bea L. Zebub (#2 all-time fave)
Justin Case (Justin Thyme)
Art Supplies (Art Museum)
Tess Tickles (#3 all-time fave)
Glen Plaid (and his sidekick, Kelly Green)
Laurel Enhardy (handshake…and once again, my thanks to one of the premier “funny guys” of all time, Mel Brooks)
And my #1 all-time favorite…
Frank Lee Scarlett
Okay, I never meant to imply that this was the height of comedy; indeed, I suspect these are just one step above puns, the absolute lowest form of humor. It just something I had some fun with, once upon a time.
Sow Soo Mee.
Love and a thesaurus (which I believe lived in the Excretious Era, about 859 gazillion years ago),
Post Script…did you guys know the word “embargo”, said backwards, comes out “ograbme”? (And thanks to Ryan Skiles, from one of the most hysterical TV shows of all-time, “Whose Line Is It Anyway?”, for that one.
Post Post Script…and just for the halibut, a riff from Mr. King, one of the all-time best storytellers ever.