For 38 years, I have been Fiona.
I started life as Fiona Julia Robyn Hall. When I started writing poetry in my early twenties there was already a published poet called Fiona Hall, and so I chose Fiona Robyn as a pen-name. Then I got married, and became Fiona Thompson.
Then I got ordained as a Buddhist priest, and was given the first name Satyavani (which means truth and eloquent communication).
It was all very complicated, being different people in different areas of my life. And so a few weeks ago I decided to join all the different parts up and become one person.
Satyavani Fiona Robyn. Satya Robyn.
After many years of writing and working hard at flogging my books, I’ve been lucky enough to do rather well with my most recent novel, The Most Beautiful Thing. And, with my next novel, I will be starting again from scratch. I’ll be writing with a new name, and unless Amazon is cleverer than I think it won’t link my new book up with my old ones.
This is probably a bad commercial decision. My changing-my-name-by-deed-poll has also been unpopular with some of the people I love. And yet, sorry as I am for any upset I have caused, I have decided to go ahead and do it anyway, because it is important. It’s important because of the central place Buddhism has in my life. It’s important because I want to be open and authentic, and I don’t want to section off parts of me from other parts. It’s important because I am a slightly different person to the one I was a year ago, and this person is called Satya.
“…I want to add just one more bit of advice: to keep growing, silently and earnestly, through your whole development; you couldn’t disturb it any more violently than by looking outside and waiting for outside answers to questions that only your innermost feeling, in your quietest hour, can perhaps answer.” ~ Rainer Maria Rilke
I am prone to ‘looking outside and waiting for answers’ – I think that most of us are. But I want to keep growing. Changing my name was the decision I needed to make in order to grow. I wonder what will be next?
What decisions do you need to make which might be unpopular with your friends or family, or might lead to less money or power or people-liking-you? Can you make them anyway? Share them in the comments if you’re brave enough…
And if you’d like to grow with the company of me or Kaspa, take one of our e-courses next month (starting Friday) – Finding Your Way Home or Writing and Spiritual Practice, or a Creative Intensive for anyone wanting 1:1 support and to get their creative work done.
5 thoughts on “On making a terrible commercial decision (& being glad)”
Hare Om Satyavani:
As one Satya to another, I say go for it. You have to be who you have evolved into being, no holds barred.
There is great resistance from all around me to call me SatyaPriya, but I am introducing the idea slowly, via my livejournal and facebook pages.
Go forward boldly into who you are.
Helen SatyaPriya Chaitanya Patrice.
Hello SatyaPriya, good to meet you! What a lovely name you have ; ) Yes, I introduced it by being ‘Satyavani Fiona’ first, and then it felt like I just had to take the plunge, now or never…. I do hope you can keep going with your request to be called by your name, thanks for dropping by.
I think the most exciting aspect of this will be finding out how your writing evolves as a result – something that will surely come from such a deep part of you that is embracing this change that you probably can’t consciously foresee it.
Thanks Jean. Yes, that will be interesting!
Hello Satya Robyn,
I applaud your choice to live in your new space and new name. I have used different names before, for convenience because mine attracts more conversation than I
sometimes want or because at different times in life it was just a smarter decision for personal reasons.
The Native American people believed that sharing your true name gave you power….I see that as a power over the journey of self.
I wish you the blessing of this being a most positive choice in our life.
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