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Monday, April 20, 2009

Name Game

I had a great time at EerieCon 11 this past weekend. Saturday was pretty full for me, from 10 AM until about 6, I was participating in either a reading or sitting on a panel back to back all day. I almost prefer it that way, as it keeps me on my toes -- of course, it doesn't leave much time for chatting, except perhaps a few minutes before and after each panel begins and ends, and in the hallway and elevator on my way to the next scheduled event.

Of course, that's what makes the late night parties fun -- getting a chance to mingle and chat with so many interesting people. The beer, of course, makes that part fun, too.

Picture from EerieCon 10 (April 2008) by Derek Sullivan
Nancy Kress, Mark Leslie, Sephera Giron, Caro Soles


With some of the panels I was on, I definitely found myself in well over my head in terms of being able to keep up or offer as much as the other guests, but often in those cases, I sit back and absorb what the other panelists are offering. For example in the "When Does SF Become Fantasy and Fantasy Become SF" panel, Nancy Kress and Carl Frederick got into an interesting discussion/debate that included paralleling scientists to mysticists. Nancy, with a background and knowledge in genetic engineering, and Carl, a physicist, were able to argue scientific theory at a wonderfully deep and fascinating level. Me, being an English major, could only momentarily comment on the signs and signals aspect of science merely being a "map" and not "the territory" (referring to Alfred Korzybski's comment that an abstraction derived from something is not the thing itself, but merely a representation of it) -- that took me back to the classes in which we discussed Semiotics and language back in university) -- but in any case, I walked away with a short list on subject areas I plan on reading about and books I'm looking forward to digging into.
At the end of the panel, Nancy apologized for monopolizing the panel on the sidetrack and I assured her it was absolutely riveting and I enjoyed it very much despite being unable to add much input into the discussion at that point.

And speaking of language, at another panel, just before it began, one of the folks sitting in the audience asked an interesting question. He asked if I knew the term that described when a person's first name and last name are both "first" or "given" names. He was, of course referring to my psyeudonym (Mark Leslie) -- where the first, or given name and the last, or surname, could each be a first/given name. This is also referred to as having two first names. (Other people with two first names would include: Ron Howard, John Wayne, Larry David, Paul Simon, Kirk Douglas -- you get the picture)

Fascinated by etymology (word and phrase origins), I'm always intrigued by terms used to describe different word combinations. So I spent a bit of time trying to find out if there was a term for such a thing -- I'm postive that there is -- but was unable to find anything yet.

I did find mention of a "Surnameless club" but am sure there must be some sort of actual word for it. (Yes, I realize mine is artificial, that I drop my last name "Lefebvre" when I write, and just use my first and second name of "Mark Leslie" -- but despite the artificial nature of it on my part, it still exists, and I'm eager to learn the term.

So, my research continues -- if anyone out there can point me in the right direction, I'd love to hear from you. After all, I did promise Tom that I'd email him an answer if I ever found out.

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