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Today, a reader's question and my reply...
"Suzanne, well, it was a sad day at my house last night. I finished your book, Muffins and Mayhem! I tried to spread it out so it would last longer, but I guess all good things must come to an end. Of course, I loved it. As a reader since 2001, when [your book club] was still called Chapter-a-Day, I thought I knew a lot about you. But I learned quite a bit more from the book. There is still one thing though, that you need to explain. You have mentioned in your book that you were called Susan as a child, and now you are known as Suzanne. I figure there has to be a story in that! I'm sure all your readers would love to know--so tell us--how did you become Suzanne?"
Debra, years ago when a reader addressed an email "Dear Susan" she quickly sent another, apologizing for not getting my name right. She also wondered if it bothered me when people called me Susan, instead of Suzanne. And this was my reply...
What's in a name?
When I was born my parents named me Susan, and that's what everyone called me when I was growing up. But when I was twenty-three years old, I made a major change in my life. And thank heavens I did, because up until that point I'd been making a lot of really bad choices. I'm not sure what "woke" me up from the fog, but I felt like a new person.
When things turned around in my life, I also made new friends and one of them suggested, "You know you're really not a 'Susan.' I think the name 'Suzanne' fits you much better."
I tried Suzanne on, and it was a perfect fit--she was right. Granted, Susan to Suzanne was a minor change, but it symbolized something much more meaningful to me.
It's really all quite bizarre when I think about it. How many times in a person's life does someone who's just met you, tell you she really doesn't think your name is a good fit and suggests a new one?
I've always thought it was strange that people, who knew me as Susan, never asked why I changed my name. But then again, maybe they liked the new me and thought, 'She's finally got herself together.' So they decided to leave well enough alone.
What's in a name?
Sometimes a magical, new beginning.
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