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As an aspiring writer, I blog about whatever happens to move me at the moment -- though some posts contain serious content, my big-picture goal is to bring a little humor into an often humorless world! Welcome, y'all, and make yourself at home! Please make sure you update your bookmarks!

When you are offended at any man's fault, turn to yourself and study your own failings. Then you will forget your anger...Epictetus

Friday, December 11, 2009

Say my name, say my name...

Over on Rightmyer Rants, Bobbi mentioned how she'd had an article published in Kentucky Monthly magazine but her name was misspelled because an "e" was added. This got me to thinking about how I've had to go through life spelling my own name(s).

My name should be easy enough, you'd think, except there are multiple ways to spell it -- Lynn, Lynne, Lyn, Len -- and I've even seen it spelled Lin. For whatever reason, most people want to put the e on the end of it -- perhaps most females who have that name use the e -- but I don't -- so I've spent my entire life spelling it out. Lynn is actually my middle name -- and my eldest's middle name is Lynn as well (her daddy's doing) but, unlike me, she doesn't use it as the name she's called. I grew up in the south -- well, I'm still in the south -- where it was often the norm (and still happens to a lesser extent) to call a girl by a double name but I always preferred to be just Lynn. Back in the day, it was common for girls to be given the middle name Lynn -- or Ann -- another name with different spellings.

It wasn't only that name I had to spell. I had to spell Irwin all the time. The more common spelling is Erwin but I've been called everything from Irving to Owen (not sure about that one but it's actually happened). In Tennessee, where my daddy was from, you may see it more with an I than an E and that may be true for other parts of the country as well but, growing up, I didn't know anybody else with that name, whether spelled with an I or an E. It's not that common which is why I stuck it in the middle of my "writing" name in order to set me apart from the gazillion Lynn Stewarts out there. By the way, my blog and forum are often reached because folks are searching for Lyn Irwin -- the mother of Steve Irwin.

When I married a Stewart, I thought, well, now I won't have to spell my last name any more. Wrong. My first clue was at the lake property Mark's family owned. They shared a driveway with the people next door who happened to have the same name - well, sort of. On one side of the driveway, there was a sign which said Stuart and, on the other, one that said Stewart. Looked like folks just couldn't make up their minds.

In any case, I'm still having to spell my last name. And my middle name. And my maiden name -- though I only use Irwin in writing and on the internet, I'm constantly having to spell it when I'm with my mother at doctor's appointments, etc.

We tend to be persnickety about our names. Even if someone else has the same name (and there probably isn't anybody who's the sole owner of one), it's still our name and we want it pronounced and spelled correctly. When it isn't, it's almost like it isn't quite us.

So, for the record, I'm Lynn with no e, Irwin with an I not an E and Stewart with an ew not a u.

So, now that we've got that straight...it won't matter one bit...I'll be spelling for the rest of my life...

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  1. My name is spelled with the "e" at the end, but most people forget. So I have to go around spelling L-Y-N-N-E.

    Both of my daughters have Lynne (with the e) as a middle name - my husband's choice.

    And I can't tell you how many people can't spell or pronounce my last name - Pistilli. It's easy but I think a lot of people are afraid of ethnic names.

  2. I had an aunt who always insisted on spelling my name "Lynne". It was very aggravating because she knew better -- but I guess she liked it better with an "e" and was trying to prove a point!

  3. Well I am glad I have it straight now, Lyhinne, lol.. Short story here, few years back,a lot of confustion,, someone with same name as me..same small community,,yep he married a girl same name as "The Boss", Yep, more than one story in this story.. lol,,

  4. Sound like you have your own blog post to write!!

  5. Hehe - now I don't feel so bad about having to spell my name - I'm in good company! Great post, Lynn!

  6. You haven't lived until you've had a last name with a silent h in it. LOL! My maiden was Barham, and if I had to give my name, I got to the point where I didn't even wait to be asked for the spelling but immediately went into the litany of letters.

    What I find hilarious is that my first name is frequently misspelled. It's Lisa, and it's amazing how many spellings there are. Picture me cross eyed.