Thursday, May 6, 2010

A Bit About Me--My Famous Maiden Name

For twenty-two years of my life I was known as Emily Dickinson. Yup. It's true.

There wasn't an English teacher who didn't immediately love me solely for the fact that they could now claim they taught Emily Dickinson. And wouldn't you know it, but everyone who found out about my name thought they were the first ones to catch it. Some even asked if I knew who Emily Dickinson was.

It actually got to the point where, after introducing myself, I would pause and wait for the person's light bulb to go off above their head, chuckle, and ask me the same thing that dozens of other people asked before them: "Did you know you have a famous name?"


But to be honest, I do miss it. Having a famous name does something to shape who you are. You aren't only judged by your own achievements, but by the achievements of the person who shares your name. It's odd. It shouldn't be that way, but people often had a hard time separating the two of us. I can't even tell you how many times I was asked to write a poem for someone.

I think that I always would have been a writer anyway, but I grew up feeling like my success was expected--like if I didn't want to dishonor my name, I better get out there and get published. It's hard to explain, but my name almost became this separate entity--part of me, but above me, too.

Now I'm Emily White and working on getting a famous name again. :)


  1. Wow that is crazy - crazy awesome. What a cool name. Emily is my sister's name BTW, and she is awesome too.

    Is this another new layout? Or have I missed your blog for a couple days? Either way I like it.

  2. At least people can say your name correctly. I grew us as GOODard GOdard GUH-dard. Seriously, how hard is Goddard? It's like they didn't want to say God.

  3. Thanks, Matthew!

    And yes, this is the layout that was voted for. :)

  4. You're dad actually did that on purpose? Wow. That's harsh. But your name is still very beautiful. Despite the whole Victoria's Secret thing, you're very lucky to have such a nice name.

    Think of all the poor Berthas around the world. Eek.

  5. I'm fascinated by stories of people who have famous namesakes. And I loved how you ended this post -- working on making Emily White a famous name too. Love that!

    I left you an award on my blog today :)

    Happy Mother's Day weekend!


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