Good Narrative Principles

Chosing Nansi


At the registration table on the way into the conference, Sally was handed a packet of material, a blank nametag and a black marker. Mindful of her handwriting, she was about to jot down her first and last name when she paused, thinking, Sally was after all something my parents dreamed up, naming me before we even met. Like a tightly wound cork shooting from a bottle of champagne, Sally’s mind bubbled with possibilities. I could be Celine, like Celine Dion. Or I could make up a name like, say, Barett after hair barrettes. But I’d spell it a new way. Her eye settled on a dusty cobweb near the track lights and she wrote almost automatically Nansi after Anansi the trickster spider god. Studying her face in the bathroom mirror between breaks, Sally laughed at nothing in particular, deciding then that Nansi was who she was all along.

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