Saturday, October 6, 2012

Becky Was My Goth Name

All the excitement from meeting Laura Moriarty the other night has churned up great memories of meeting some of my other favorite authors.

I blogged about how David Sedaris drew a giant, pimply ass on my copy of his book Naked yesterday.  Then my friend Josh reminded me of the time he and I got Sedaris to sign our copies of his book Me Talk Pretty One Day after one of his readings in Lawrence, Kansas.

Mousy me just stood there smiling like an idiot as Josh told Sedaris that I was such a big fan of his I even had a photo of him on my computer's screen saver.  Sedaris, a Luddite, didn't know what we were talking about.  The conversation turned to being unfamiliar with words and somehow Josh slipped in the fact that he's fluent in German.  When Josh handed Sedaris his book, he asked if he'd sign it for his mother.  Sedaris did.  He wrote, "I had the pleasure of meeting your Teutonic son."  On mine he wrote:

Reminiscing about fun book signings with my favorite authors, I'm reminded of the time I met Sarah Vowell when she came to Unity Temple on the Plaza in Kansas City, Missouri to read from her book Assassination Vacation. Her handlers asked each person in line for their name so they could write and properly spell it on a post-it note and then stick it to the front of each book for Ms. Vowell, to speed things along.  Efficiency, thy name is Vowell.

That's not her only name.  When it was my turn to have my book signed, she opened it up and smiled slyly.

"Becky was my goth name."  

"What?"  I asked.

"My goth name.  When I needed a goth name, I thought to myself, 'I need something ironic.  Something perky.  Becky just seemed like the most anti-goth name I could think of."

"Um, thank you," I squeaked.

The funny thing is she wasn't kidding.  Listen yourself, from American Gothic by Sarah Vowell:

"Step one of the guidelines is choosing a goth name. Indra says, 'Most of us have changed our name to be something more gothic. A lot of people legally change their name.' According to Mary, 'If you go into any of the goth clubs nowadays, you'll find a lot of spooky names, like Raven and Rat and Sage.' When I was pondering a good goth name for myself, I paged through my reference books on death and dying, looking for something gruesome. But nothing felt right. Maybe it's because I came of age in the '80s and I've seen Blue Velvet too many times, but to me, the really frightening stuff has nothing to do with ravens and rats. The truly sordid has a sunny, WASP-y glow. Therefore, I tell them, the most perverse name I can think of is 'Becky.'"