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What’s in a name? That which we call a rose …

A famous line from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, and the subject of my blog post. How does that relate to writing? It’s all about name recognition, and that little part of us that likes seeing our name on our books. Okay, it has nothing to do with writing. This will probably fall under our potpourri section.

And, my partner thought it would be interesting for me to write about how I got my unusual name. You see, as we’re pushing to get our first book released and setting up a myriad of accounts online, Patricia has been frustrated with having a very common name. Trying to pick a user ID that even somewhat resembles her name is difficult, if not impossible. I, on the other hand, have had no problem.

Yes, Fela is different.

Fela: Czech, Polish. From Felix, Latin. “Happy,” or “fortunate,” or “lucky.” Unusual. (My name is pronounced “fay-la.”)

Now, how did a young woman from Oklahoma happen upon a name such as Fela? It wasn’t planned; my mother and father intended to name me Tomi Lee, a bit more traditional for a girl of the south. My mother wasn’t healthy during her pregnancy, and ended up going into the hospital to keep from having me way too soon. Even then, after six weeks of lying flat on her back in bed, I was born, at six months, in a rush, in the hallway, by an orderly.

During this time my mother had many roommates, coming and going at regular intervals. One, a lady with the name Fela, shared her room. Her stories and company entertained my mom, so much so, she decided to name me after her. Now, as my mother told the story, she was to find out later the woman embellished, even lied a bit, but it did not matter. I was officially named Fela Lee Dawson.

Probably the most famous person with my name is Fela Anikulapo Kuti, a Nigerian musician and composer who has been immortalized in a Broadway musical, FELA! I must admit, it is pretty cool to have your name in flashing lights on Broadway, even it isn’t meant for you. (Go to Google and search for Fela, it will pop up). It is pronounced slightly different; po-tay-toe or po-tah-toe, it’s what’s in a name that counts.

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