What’s in a name?

My real name is not Abby Wilder.

My first name is Abby, and it always has been despite the insistence of some people calling me Abigail, or getting my name confused over the phone and calling me Debbie.

My parents took a little while choosing my name because they were certain I was going to be a boy. My mother had names picked out like, Guy and Miles. My father was in favour of more traditional names like John. So when I popped out as a girl, my father said that he opened the baby names book and just picked the first one. That story isn’t true, but I like it anyway.

My surname at birth was my father’s. When my mother re-married, I took the name of my step-father because I wanted to be like my mother. It wasn’t until I travelled overseas and applied for a passport, that I realised it was never my legal name. So I went back to my Father’s name and stayed that way until I married.

I’m proud of the men in my life. I’m proud to have claimed their names as my own, as a daughter, a step-daughter and a wife, so why do I write under a different name?

Because it is a name I have chosen.

It is personal to me. It doesn’t simply imply that I am someone’s wife, or someone’s daughter. It is just a name with no family connections, and one that I’m rather fond of. I also like the way it looks.

But why Wilder?

One of the first series of books I fell in love with, was the ‘Little House on the Prairie’ series by Laura Ingalls-Wilder. I used to play pretend a lot when I was young and my name was always Laura, most often Laura Wilder, so to me it was an obvious choice. It’s something that has been part of the creative side of me for many years.

To change my first name would have been confusing, so I decided to leave it alone.

But despite what I am called, despite which name I choose to use, I assure you, I still smell as sweet.

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