Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Ennui of Names

One of the problems with four hundred thousand odd words, all of them strung together in sentences so as to create a ripping yarn is what I'll call the "ennui of names." A name might at one moment sum the world. Next day it's like a barking dog. But a writer of pulp is stuck with it. He goes to his bed deeply depressed, where long into the night he plots the death of a character, simply because the name has become jarring. And quite wrong of me to even hint at who at this moment I'd like to see slip on a banana skin and fall into an icy River Thames where his drowning will be  inevitable.

 I remember years ago reading a series of stories where my fellow writer of pulp had given up any kind of serious contemplation of names and his hero was B, I think. Other characters also just had initials. I thought it brilliantly confusing at the time. And too I remember reading his explanation for just using initials, instead of carefully thought out names. His answer was essential some BS about universality and the role of imagination in the whole and how actual names where a tyrannical imposition on the flow of his wonderful mind. He was a professional of course.

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