When I was born in Kansas City, my mom named me "Elaine Masters." Kind of pretty, the first part, kind of powerful, the Masters part. I always hoped to be a writer--my ambition was to write "Nancy Drew" type mysteries for kids--but when I fell in love with a fellow student, I knew I had a problem. His name was Donald Dull. Dull? What writer wants "Dull" on the spine of her book?
Back then, only movie stars kept their screen names when they married. All other women that I knew dropped their own family names and took on their new husbands' names. Yuck.
I argued with Don. "Why don't you change your name? Masters is a great name."
"Dull has been our family name for generations," he grumbled. "No need to break with tradition." Love me, love my name. I did love him, so I married him, and for 45 years I was "Elaine Masters Dull."
When we moved to Hawaii, Don realized that immigrants often changed their names, and other people changed names at major life changes or to foil evil spirits. Changing one's name didn't seem so weird to him any more. We considered other names, but at last decided "Masters" was logical.
But I wanted a middle name. I'd fallen in love with Hawaii and intended to stay here permanently, so I bought a Hawaiian-English dictionary and set out to find something suitable. Olelo. Oh-LAY-low. The root meaning was "word." Looking down the list of sub-meanings, I found, "Story teller." Aha! Perfect.
However, a few months after our legal name change took effect, I was talking with a native Hawaiian speaker. He smirked when he heard my name.
"The dictionary says it means 'storyteller.' Is that wrong?"
"Well, yes, in some cases I suppose it does. But small-kid time, we used to call guys who wouldn't shut up, 'olelo.'"
So I had named myself, "Elaine Jabber-box Masters." Great.
But I'm using "olelo" on my three new books so I can keep my writings separate. There's another Elaine Masters on Amazon.com who is not me. So if you're looking for my books, remember the "Olelo."