You

C3Eift4l

You

First,
I had to collapse
and admit to the power
I’d given my name,
and know that it had
become a black hole,
consuming who I
wanted to be.

I came undone,
a revelation that lasted
twenty-four revolutions
around the sun.

Across time and space
who I could be
called out to me,
a quiet voice,
somewhere beyond,
out in the void.

Alone, in the quiet
with fabric sheets and concrete
separating me from the sky,
I heard her…

I found her.

And though she spoke
in a whisper,
I knew she spoke truth,
I am here.
I am light.
I am you.

For this poem and more, pre-order Unraveling LightElayna’s debut poetry collection, now crowdfunding on Kickstarter.

 

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My Turn

As a writer, I have always agreed with J.K. Rowling on her words…

Words are, in my not-so-humble opinion, our most inexhaustible source of magic.

That statement has proven true in my life time and time again. For every word that has hurt me, there have been more that have healed. For all the words that cause me to doubt, there have been just as many to inspire, and it was three words my roommate said to me about two weeks back that ignited something inside me.

Our conversation wasn’t unlike many of the others we’ve had before. One of the biggest topics was my fear that I can’t do “this.” By “this”, I mean be a published author.

Waiting to hear back from agents is painstaking. Watching other debut authors bask in the glow of their first books is incredible. Feeling like I could never be among them even if I tried has been disheartening. But on this particular night, there was one thing my roommate said that must have been exactly what I needed to hear. With three simple words, he sparked a fire…

“It’s your turn…”

This struck me, and it is because of that conversation that a project that I’ve been working on for months is about to come alive in a way I had not originally planned, but which am now thrilled to pursue. It is because of those three words that I was able to find the courage at last, make this announcement, which I’m happy crying over as I type.

I’m publishing a book, y’all.

Allow me to (tearfully) present to you, Unraveling Light, my debut collection of poetry.

a collection of poetry

As of the time of this writing, you can click the above link and be whisked away through the interwebs to a Kickstarter campaign, where I am raising the set-up funds to self-publish the book this summer. My starting goal is only $900, which means if 36 people decide to pre-order a signed paperback right now (really, did I mention the link’s right here?) then that’s it. I’ll have the funds needed to publish, and the rest is just whipped cream and cherries.

As I’ve shared this news with friends and family in the past few weeks, some have expressed surprise that I write poetry. Trust me, no one is as surprised as I am that my first published work is going to be poems. For while I’ve been actively writing poetry for the past few years, I never would have dreamed when I started that it would ever be something I would want to share with others, because of how deeply personal much of it is. But as I’ve been chipping away at progress on my YA series, writing poetry has become a truly joyous outlet for me and has served as a magnificent means of self-expression. Putting together this collection, and subsequently finding a passion for doodling and word art that accompanies the poems, has been an unbelievable experience of growth, and so I couldn’t be happier to finally be ready enough to release it.

The campaign runs from today until April 25th, concluding on that date because that would have been my mother’s birthday, and she is the one to whom this book is dedicated. I tear up thinking about her, and wondering how she would feel to know that not only am I finally chasing my life’s greatest dream, but that I am doing it on my own terms. My mom always supported me, and I wouldn’t be the writer, dreamer, or person I am without her encouragement, even when the rest of the world didn’t believe in me.

Over the next few weeks, I’ll be sharing some teasers of the book here on my blog, but you can get more frequent updates by donating to the Kickstarter today so that you get notified as soon as something new develops with the project! For donating, you can get all manner of fun things from handmade bookmarks, to audiobooks, to signed copies of the book, and even custom art prints. By donating, you’d be helping me to achieve something I’ve dreamed about since I was a kid. So basically a ton of great karma on top of all the swag. A pretty sweet deal if you ask me.

I know there’s not many people who read this blog. I know that as far as the publishing world is considered, I am still a nobody. Hell, even when this campaign succeeds and the book is out there, it still isn’t likely to be a bestseller or to change the world. But it is my heart put to paper. As my campaign page says…

The words in this volume serve as not just the written sum of one person’s experiences, but as a celebration of surviving them.

As I begin this journey, I find myself so happy to have survived. I am so happy to still be writing. I am so happy to be alive to share this with you. I hope that whoever you are, stranger or friend, you can find some shred of magic in my words, and that through that, you can feel the same hope I feel as I put Unraveling Light out into the world.

A Home for ‘Continuum’

There are certain things that come into your life not because they are meant to stay there, but because they are meant to lead you to the place where you’re supposed to be. It is those kind of circumstances that led to today—the day my first piece of writing got published.

Let’s backtrack. June 2016 I was actively involved with Inkshares, and at that time, a group of us banded together with the decision that we would publish an anthology of video game related short stories. We won our contest, sold over 400 pre-orders for the book, and submitted out manuscript. My contribution to the collection was something originally titled All the Answers, and it started out as just a whim of an idea that I was terrified I wouldn’t know how to execute. But as many writers can attest, sometimes when you just sit down and let go, something entirely different and all together more wonderful can take place. That’s how Continuum came to be.

As some of you who’ve been about this blog may already know, that project as a whole went under when the company set to publish us unceremoniously dropped us and cancelled our book. I was devastated. A piece that I written which had so much of my own story in it would not see the light of day. For the moment, all hope felt lost.

Then the very next day, I popped on twitter and saw this tweet from a literary magazine I followed right at the top of my feed…

It felt like fate.

To tell you a bit about Wizards in Space, it’s a lit mag that brands itself as being BY nerds, FOR nerds. Us fanpeoples can get so inspired by the stories we absorb, and thus many of us turn out to be storytellers ourselves. Olivia Dolphin, the founder of the mag, a writing/fangirling extraordinaire, is someone who exudes compassion and really cares about people and the stories they want to share with the world. So she created a “space” for us wizards and magical folk to tell original stories inspired by the power of fandom, which could not be more perfect. I could not in all of time and space asked or hoped or dreamed for a better or more loving place for my first published work to call home. I haven’t even held the copy of it in my hands yet, and already I just know, my story is somewhere it truly belongs.

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Wizards in Space means family. Family means no story gets left behind.

And so friends, Continuum goes out in the world, surrounded by brother and sister stories that I PHYSICALLY AND EMOTIONALLY CANNOT wait to read. I hope you’ll consider supporting this remarkable magazine, for while I long to hear what people think of my story, I also really really really can’t stress enough how important a mag like this is for authors like me to get their start. My story is one of many pieces and art contained within this mag, and by getting one, you’re supporting every single one of us. You’re showing support to indie authors, and helping see to it that this magazine goes on to create many more issues and opportunities for said authors.

So if you’d like to read Continuum, buy a copy of Wizards in Space Issue 02 here! If you’re hankering for even more, Issue 01 is on sale again too! I’ll just be over here, where for now, all is well.


Fun note on the cover image: This image used for the cover of this post is a potential cover I designed for the short story waayyyy back after I’d just finished writing the story.

Half My Life

Half my life ago, I started writing a story.

I won’t go into the details of that particular 2004 morning in which Piper and her story arrived in my head, since you can read all about that here. The short version is that it was just a regular day, but one which in retrospect turned out to be one of the most important ones in my life. In a way, when Piper’s story began, so too began my life’s quest to become what I really believe I’m supposed to be—a writer.

When I wrote last February 9th, I was filled with such a profound hope because I had just that week launched a campaign to publish the book through Inkshares. (Which in case you missed it, didn’t end so well…) As sad as I felt though when I had to close that chapter on Alteria’s story, the experiences had while trying to get the story out there shaped my year, and helped me grow tremendously as both an author and a person.

This anniversary comes on the heels of a tumultuous week, as sadly last Friday, one of my Uncles passed away. While we hadn’t been close in a number of years, it still shook me. It reminded me of something Lin Manuel Miranda said during his speech at the Tonys…

“Not one moment here is promised, not one day.”

It was a wake up call that life is precious, important, and very, very fleeting. It forced me to pay mind to my own mortality, and whether it was that, or just the sheer amount of sadness and emotion all hitting me at once, I started writing again. Writing like I haven’t been able to in months. 1000 words Monday. 1750 words Tuesday. 600 words yesterday. Words to come tonight. I’m unloading the pain in my heart like rounds of artillery, and emotion is pouring out from my heart like a river overrun from a storm. It reminds me of another quote I heard recently, this time by Carrie Fisher via Meryl Streep…

Take your broken heart and turn it into art.

Those words embody what this story has always been for me. Writing is the therapy I can afford. It is how I react to and reason with the world. When I was 13, I was bullied enough that I hated myself. Whether it was the thickness of my body or of the books I carried with me, they always had something to make fun of me for. Discovering Piper, creating a fictional world for her to save—it was the only way my imagination could figure out how to deal with it. If I could tell a story even a tenth as good as the ones I read and loved, then perhaps someone else might be emboldened. Someone else might be reminded not to give up, just like Harry Potter or Pendragon reminded me. All I can hope for is that Piper can be a light for others one day, like she has always been for me.

As I sit here, with the knowledge that more than half of my life has been spent on this story, my heart feels full. More wordless days of doubt and frustration are sure to come down the road. There will be hardships that will cripple my creativity, and there will be hardships that will remind me to keep fighting. I look forward to them both as much as I look forward to the joyful days that nourish my soul and give me hope. I look forward to all of it, because all of it is part of my story, and thus Piper’s story too.

So whether it takes just a few more months or a few more years, whether it is via a traditional publisher or I decide to publish it myself, this story will be shared with the world one day. Even as life remains full of uncertainties, in this the one notion upon which I stand sure.

SUPER SECRET SURPRISE!

Over the last few months, I’ve been working on a new full draft of They Are the Last, and as a surprise to celebrate 13 years since the story’s beginning, I’ve decided to do something special! You can now read the latest draft of the first chapter of They Are the Last! Simply visit theyarethelast.com/read & enter the secret code below to read it!

SECRET CODE
(Highlight between the arrows to view, then copy & paste)
–> PipersStory <–

This isn’t a final draft, but its as close as I’ve been able to get to one yet, so I hope you enjoy it. Share this blog post with your friends so they too can use the secret code to read Chapter One! Thanks as ever for supporting this story.

12 Years in Alteria

Get your flux capacitor and TARDIS ready, everyone. For today’s post, we’re going back in time. To when, you ask?

February 9th, 2004 at 10:13am. Room 107 of East Norriton Middle School.

I was 13, sitting in class with a teacher I didn’t much like for a subject I was rubbish at. The few days prior to that, I’d made the decision that I wanted to write a story. Heavily influenced by the magic of Harry Potter and the space and time travel in The Pendragon Adventures – a YA series you should absolutely look up if you’re unfamiliar – I knew that I wanted the story I’d be writing to be some combination of the those elements. Science-y magic, if you will.

I came up with a character to lead this universe, Piper Anderson, who was so named because Piper was my favorite girls name, and Anderson was my 7th grade English teacher’s name. Next, I realized Piper needed a universe to belong in – a world. Sitting in that math class, I tried to come up with a name. Something original. But with nothing around me but other disinterested classmates and a teacher droning on, there wasn’t much for inspiration. So I worked with what I had . . . my math worksheet.

I started using different words from the instructions on the page, combining them in scribbles at the bottom of a piece of paper that I have sadly since lost. I rearranged words and letters, until at last, I jotted down a word that just worked. It clicked.

My world would be called Alteria.

And so I opened my notebook to a blank page – a page I still have – and jotted down the date, time, place, and just above it a phrase. Alteria: The Adventure Begins. Below that, a chapter title. And below that? A horribly cheesy first line that only 13 year old me could have come up with.

Piper Anderon looked like your typical 17 year old girl. But she wasn’t.

Yes, in the first line of my first book, I spelled my own character’s name wrong. DERP.

The rest of that year was spent coming up with alien races, doodling notes, and handwriting pages upon pages of story. That November I decided to write a prequel to this first Alteria story, and the result was very first NaNoWriMo novel called The Waters of Nen. As anyone who’s read this blog before knows, NaNoWriMo is the other thing I’ve been spending the last 12 years doing.

The ensuing years after 2004 saw much of my free time being consumed by coming up with grand ideas, some of which stayed, and some of which went back into the communal creative consciousness for someone else to grab. But even when I came up with something bad, I’d just scrap it and keep going. Most people are still surprised when I tell them the story is as old as it is, usually asking things like, why didn’t you get distracted and just stop writing? I can without a doubt say one of the biggest reasons was an incredibly kind and endlessly encouraging middle school librarian who told me to keep at it. (Spoiler: When I get to write a dedication to this book one day – you can bet she’ll be in there.)

High school saw me getting into other projects, trying new things, and you know, learning how to be a person. Then in college, I was so caught up in the incredibly exciting task of learning to be a filmmaker. While those years were amazing and shaped me so much as a storyteller and creator, Alteria spent much of that time on a shelf, waiting until I was ready to tell the story as it deserved to be told.

Flash ahead to 2015. At the conclusion of one creative project, I found myself wanting to take up the mantle of another one. I debated relentlessly in my head as to which story I should work on, and carried the dilema with me when I went to London and Edinburgh in April for my own adventure. I sat in the very cafe where JKR wrote her much of Harry Potter, thinking about Piper and Alteria, and wondering: is it their time? Am I finally ready? As I walked home that night, mulling it all over, I stopped by a shop, looking for a souvenir for the friend who helped me get there. In that store, I saw this . . .

11391389_10204223077165023_2390355554872196265_n

I took the hint. I went back to Alteria.

I spent July to October writing the first 44K words, then November and December I began a new draft which I completed with less than an hour to spare of New Year’s Eve. I rang in 2016 standing on a street corner waiting to catch the bus to my friends party, because I HAD TO finish my book first. Watching fireworks explode over the city skyline, happy drunken cheers all around, and with Hamilton the Musical‘s song My Shot blaring in my ears, I gotta say – that was one of the most surreal and profound moments of my life.

Which brings me to 2016. A new year, new beginnings, and a new chapter in the life of my story. And now – a new challenge.

This time last week, I was working on revising my draft, with no idea when I’d ever be published, or hell, even how I’d be published. Would I self-pub? Find an agent? I was preparing myself for all possible avenues I could think of. But as I’ve discovered is the pattern in my life, God usually tends to answer my prayers in the one way I that I could have never expected or prepared for.

Along came Inkshares. My friend – bless her heart – sent me a link to a contest called The Nerdist Space Opera Contest, run by the magnificently wonderful Inkshares website. The rules? Get my book to be one of the most pre-ordered books by March 15th, and I get published. That’s it. I’d be a real live published author, and one of the top 3 items of my bucket list would get to be checked off when I’m only 25. Talk about blessed.

So here I sit. My story turns 12 today. 12 years of my life spent with my head lost across the stars in a world I love, which no one ever used to know existed, until now. Now, Piper’s story isn’t just mine. It can be yours too. I imagine this must be what a parent feels like seeing their kid off to school: thrilling, exciting, nerve-wracking, happy, overwhelming, etc.

I don’t know what’s going to happen with this contest or my story will find itself in the winners circle, because to be honest, SO MANY OF THESE BOOKS SOUND SO GOOD. But the great thing about Inkshares is, even if I don’t win the contest, I still have until May 4th to sell 750 pre-orders, and if I do that, my book will finally be on your shelves.

Suppose it is fitting that a post with the words 12 Years in the title should take a while, but if you’re still reading, thanks for sticking with me. Not just in this blog post, but in life. On this crazy journey I’m on to live passionately and fiercely pursue my dreams. I hope that if you’ve gotten this far, you’ll take some time to check out this story that’s meant all the worlds to me. You can read Chapter One here.

If you’ve been there at any time in any way for these past 12 years, I thank you. You’ve become part of the story between the lines inherently by being in my life. As for the rest of you, Alteria will be waiting.

iP5_8j1J


Update: As of September 14th, 2016, Elayna cancelled the funding campaign for They Are the LastRead her official announcement here. Readers can still visit theyarethelast.com to learn more about the story.

Camp NaNo: Day 7

NEW WORDS WRITTEN: 0

NEW TOTAL WORD COUNT: 6261

CURRENT MENTAL STATE

No words makes a sad Layna
No words makes a sad Layna

This post is coming a day later than it should, but there’s just something about a day where not a single word happened that can feel discouraging.

Now to be fair, I got quite a bit of brainstorming done, and also completed a layout for how I want the next several chapters to go, but I also found that as I was sitting in the cafe thinking of these ideas, I was getting more worried about what kind of video I would make when I got home than I was about writing what I’d been planning, which is not good.  Part of this month’s writing experience, and my journey as a writer/blogger as a whole, requires that I be honest with myself, and if I’m being honest in this moment, I was so determined to do a vlog about my writing every day, that I wasn’t writing as much as I could or should have, and given the words are what this whole month is supposed to be about, this made me feel like I was heading in a bad direction.

10/10 Not A Pleasant Experience
10/10 Not A Pleasant Experience

SO! That being said, as I head into week two of this writing/blog&vlog extravaganza, I’m going to try something a little different, based on an idea I had while in the cafe on the night of the 7th.

The thing is, I LOVE finding new places to write. It physically gets me out of my normal head space, which is extraordinarily helpful for me trying to come up with new things and look at things from a new perspective.

“I stand upon my desk to remind myself that we must constantly look at things in a different way.”
-John Keating, Dead Poet’s Society

I honestly think about this phrase whenever I’m feeling trapped in a rutt. In addition, as a photographer and journalist of my own life, I love capturing moments in time, via both images and words, which frankly is why you’re sitting here reading this. So as I sat in that cafe the other day, I decided the new direction I’m going to go in for the videos.

WRITE SPACE is going to be a new photography/writing project I start this week in which every day, I must go somewhere new, that isn’t my apartment, and write. What else will I do? I will bring along my camera and take a photo from my perspective of where I’m sitting, so as to capture not just the moment of writing what I’m writing, but the space in which that work was written in. How does this become a vlog you ask? Each of these days, in addition to a photo, I will capture little bits of footage of those spaces and on July 14th, I will release a video featuring each of the spaces I spent my week writing in (from the 7th to the 13th) and perhaps talk about the experience of it at the end of said video. As I go through this experience, I will still post a new blog each day, and that blog post will include my progress of what I wrote about in those spaces. So while I won’t be having a video released each day as I planned, I will be writing, which is what matters.

If being a writer has taught me anything, its that sometimes things change along the road of your story. Plot twists change your path, obstacles and roadblocks get in your way, and characters decide to change their minds and do what they want. So before you know it, you’ve gone from a miserable 11 year old on Privet Drive to a legendary hero who’s sending your children off to Hogwarts when all is well. I can’t predict where this story – or the journey of writing it – will take me any more than Harry could have predicted his, but you know what? I think that’s fucking beautiful.

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#BrbSobbing

JULY 7th WRITE SPACE

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Space: Chapterhouse Cafe & Gallery in South Philadelphia. Time: 8:45pm, July 7th, 2015

 

25×25

The fact that I will be 25 years old recently dawned on me, and the thought of being a quarter of a century old kind of makes one feel reflective. Sometimes I still feel like I was a teenager last week, but then I have to step back and remember that its been ten years since I started high school, and now over a year since I graduated college. It’s cheesy and everyone says it, but it really is true . . . time sure does fly.

elaysBut as I’ve been evaluating my past, I end up catching myself and realizing that by thinking so, so, so much about where I’ve been, I miss out on the moments right in front of me, and I forget to live in the now. So as I think about not thinking about the past and thinking about the present which makes me think of where I’ll be in the future (timey-wimey I know) I’ve decided to create a list for my year. Not a set of vague and lofty resolutions that I won’t follow through on, but a set of 25 perfectly achievable things that I would like to do before I turn 25, which I believe will help me also make 2015 an incredibly memorable year.

There’s a little less than nine months to cross off all the items on this list, so this should be fun. The hope is that for every item I get to check off this list (which will be presented in no particular order) I’ll blog about the experience – treating each item as a prompt challenge to be fulfilled in a later post. Things on the list will vary between quirky, fun things I’ve always wanted to do, and more meaningful big items that I feel can really make this a rewarding year for not just me, but others in my life. Wish me luck!

1) Marathon all 8 Harry Potter films.
Almost 20 hours of magical movie goodness? Always.

snape

2) Marathon all 6 LOTR/Hobbit films.
Another 20+ hours of marathoning? #DoItForFrodo

frodo

3) Spend a weekend kicking back in a blanket fort.
Because nothing says turning 25 like acting like you’re 5.

blanketfort

4) Host a fancy picnic with friends.
Never had a legitimate picnic, so this Spring I’ma make it a thing.

garden party

5) Spend an entire weekend without internet.
Let’s be real, we all need to power down once in a while.

No_more_internet_for_you

6) Visit at least 2 other countries.
I’ve never left the USA and this is not acceptable. Now all I need’s a passport . . .

world

7) Pull an all nighter at a beach.
Because stargazing and the ocean. Is there any other reason needed?

ariel

8) Read at least 25 new books.
Because 2015 is the year I get back in touch with something I love most. Books.

reading

9) Send a random positive message to all my tumblr followers.
Currently there’s 1850 of them, and if there’s more I’ll add them too. #WorthIt

awesome

10) See the sunrise from the Art Museum steps.
I’ve always said I wanted to do this with someone, but screw it. I’m not going to let others keep me from doing what I want this year.

rocky

11) Create my own dish that can become a family recipe.
Hint: The secret ingredient will probably be love.

yum

12) Stargaze somewhere so clear I can see the Milky Way.
Cause nothing puts things in perspective like being able to see your galaxy with your own eyes.

milky way

13) Visit London.
Hopefully for MuggleNet Live: Expo Patronum, which is going to be the awesomest thing ever.

awesome totally

14) Go to Geeky Con 2015 and revisit Hogwarts.
Because nowhere in the world have I ever felt so at home than I did with my nerdy family.

hogwarts

15) Sing at an open mic night.
I haven’t sang like I used to in years. It’s high time I changed that.

scarlet sings

16) Write a letter to my 50 year old self.
Where will I be in the next 25 years? Who knows. 50 year old me, that’s who.

too old

17) Bury a time capsule somewhere special to me.
And won’t it be grand if one day someone finds it while I’m still alive?

doctor

18) Become a published author.
Whether its some poetry in a literary magazine or a book you can buy from amazon, I want to be able to say I’m published before 25.

good writing

19) Go camping for at least a night.
Me and the outdoors don’t tend to be very one with each other. Perhaps this will change that.

outdoors

20) Get my second tattoo.
Been wanting the next ever since the first. The time has come.

tattoos

21) Cut my hair really short.
Like, really short. Like, shorter than ever short.

mulan

22) Successfully complete a photography project.
I have a few in mind, but I need to stop procrastinating and make them happen!

sherlock camera

23) Perform spoken word poetry.
I’ve written several pieces, but always get too scared to share them. Not anymore.

poem

24) Make a new short film.
I miss filmmaking more than anything, so its high time I made a new narrative short.

giphy

25) Send a letter to all the important people in my life.

The people I love deserve to hear that, and nothing to me says I love you like a handwritten letter.

love you

Thanks for reading loves. Here’s to the rest of 24, and to making things happen.

Becoming Elayna

Shakespeare may have expressed in Romeo & Juliet that names are artificial and meaningless compared to the person behind them, but as one of my favorite Doctor Who episodes (also featuring Willy Shakes) suggested, there can be real power in a name.

That’s why I’ve chosen to change mine to Elayna Mae Darcy.

But first, let me share with you the story of how that name came to be.

Growing up, my name was something that never 100% felt like me. I did always like the letter M. I liked that my name was different and had one L instead of two. I liked the Irishness of my dad’s last name. But while I liked all of that, I never felt that I loved my name. All of those things together didn’t feel like they equalled who I really was. The only time I thought it worked remotely well was when people said the full version of it, Michele Elaine Hannon, because Elaine was my favorite part. But growing up, changing it wasn’t an option, so I remained silent, and answered to the name I was given.

Michele was someone who was named after a dad who was never really a part of her life. She was someone who allowed other people to make fun of her, which only added to why she couldn’t stand her name so much. It got to the point where she associated Michele with all the things people thought about Michele; fat, ugly, unwanted, the list could go on. She was someone who could never even settle on a favorite nickname, because no matter how hard she tried to like the variations of Michele (Shell, Shelly, even Meesh) there was something about all these names that just wasn’t her. The names didn’t reflect how she felt about herself, because deep down she wanted desperately to love herself, but the world was so convinced that Michele was not worthy of love. She had convinced herself of it too. So at 14 when she became passionate about writing, she first began to entertain the idea of a pen name.

The one she came up with then was one she discarded quickly, mostly because it was one she came up with only because it sounded pretty. The years went by, and while her name continued to be used against her, she remained silent. Michele was not someone who believed it was worth trying to change. But just before college, with the idea that she could reinvent herself and be called anything she wanted, she revisited the idea, and debated about going into college and introducing herself by her middle name which she’d loved so much. Elaine meant light, and Michele thought that was beautiful.

Whether it was losing her mother and feeling obligated to the name she had left her with, or just a lack of courage, Michele stayed. Sophomore year friends started calling her Meesh, and this, while probably the favorite of all the nicknames she’d been called over the years, still didn’t feel exactly right. College had come and gone and still, Michele was Michele, despite the fact that the name still didn’t suit her. But then she went to Leaky Con, and met someone who would have an impact on her that she could never have anticipated.

Leaky Con was honestly the best week of her life, and there’s a list longer than my arm of why that is. But one of the stand out experiences, was the night that spanned from Thursday into Friday. That was the night of Pizza with Snapes.

Feeling frankly too damn excited to possibly entertain the notion of being unconscious for a few hours, Michele went down to the lobby with her laptop, where she soon encountered a merry gathering of people also there for the convention, three of which were dressed like Professor Snape. As you can assume, there was pizza there too. The good conversations and shenanigans lasted until nearly 5:30am, and it was a brilliant night in many respects, but one of the members of the group shared the story of how he had changed his name, and he said it was one of the best decisions he’d ever made in his life. That statement stayed with Michele for months, and left her once again questioning if she had the guts to change.

As November rolled around, for the second time in 2014, the idea of changing her name was once again at the forefront, as getting back into writing led her back down the road of possibly choosing a pen name. And it was on a late December day of looking into various names that finally, Michele discovered what her name should be.

Elayna Mae Darcy is who I’m supposed to be.

Elayna is really the one piece of my given name that is staying. I always loved that my middle name meant “Light”, so as I change my name, it seems only fitting I should let the light within me shine. The spelling is a little different, but essentially, Elayna is my way of keeping the part of my name that was not only my favorite, but also my mother’s. I think she’d be happy with that.

Mae is actually an Italian name meaning “Mine”, and while I’m not italian in heritage, I loved the idea of not only keeping an M somewhere in my name, but I also felt that by making “Mine” a part of my name, it gives me ownership of the name I picked for myself. I am my own person, and so is my name, and no one can take that away.

Darcy allows me to keep an Irish last name, and allows for a nice contrast to my first name’s meaning, as Darcy means “Dark one” or “Darkness”. That makes my full name mean “Light my dark”, which is something I want my name to do. I want my name to remind me that every moment, I have the power to bring light to the darkness, I have the ability to see the good in the bad, and thus eventually overcome it.

So to all who may be reading this, I am glad to have been able to explain to you why I’m doing something that to you, may seem random, since you’ve not been in my head all these years as I’ve struggled with this. Please remember that while it might be hard for you to adjust to calling me something different, it is equally hard for me to start being called something different than what I have been for the first 24 years of my life. But know that also, every time you say it, my heart fills with so much joy, because I finally feel like I’m being called a name that matches who I am.

So thank you for reading my very first blog post, and may you have a Happy 2015 friends. May it be filled with light.

Always,
Elayna Mae Darcy

elayna