I’ve gone on a rampage lately, destroying the biggest remnants of reality from Coincidence so as to lessen any potential damaging passages from the people involved therein. When I started writing the novel, I kept the names or nicknames of the people involved, thinking that either a) no one would read it and/or b) who cares? I’m not painting them as monsters. These are the actual stories of actual people. If they can’t handle their own pasts, well, screw ‘em. That’s the life of a sineater though. The community’s not supposed to remember what it’s blocked out or rejected from its own narrative.
But recently I realized that we live in the age of Twitter and possible employers looking up our names, etc., so I’ve been trying to eliminate the obvious ties to people I know. In the end, I can’t make completely unique names unless I change the entire story’s setting to Episyncia, the tenth planet from the Morck, where the prophasia flows like blomix and the children weep at the loss of their vladexes. Is there a Michael Mizdail in Levittown? Maybe. Is it my responsibility to change the names until it’s something that’ll never be found in the Lower Bucks County region? Well, I certainly hope not.
I guess this is why people write of fictional towns and such. That certain has its upsides. But for this story, I wanted reality. This is suburbia, at least the version I grew up with. Could it be placed in a fictional town? Of course, but Levittown has a particular connotation with it. A friend from Stroudsburg once called me after her day of classes at high school was over, saying, “We learned about your town in history today. What the hell is wrong with that place?” I still don’t know, sug. I just know I miss it terribly.
The fun part of this whole switcheroo, though, is the research. It’s another one of those levels that I’m not sure anyone would ever notice but me. Does it enrich the novel commercially? Probably not. Does it amuse me that a main character’s first initial and last name make up the term for a Filipino demon? Definitely. She’s not the first to get a name from folklore / exocultural terms for evil.
It’s like a numbers station. One person, who definitely knows the translation, is sending out the message, hoping at least one other person out there knows what he or she is talking about. The signal’s loud and clear to those with the background necessary to find it amusing. Otherwise, it’s simple background noise that can be tuned out.
“Survival is the only way, my dear” – Lunic’s “Self-Destruct”