Pat, a.k.a. DesLily or, we now learn, De's Lily, asks in her blog for the stories behind our screen names. I think I've pretty much covered this ground before, but not as a whole entry. Onward!
My first online service, back in 1991 or so, was Prodigy. This is where I first encountered Julie, Sara and Sarah, among others. The way it worked, we each had an alphanumeric sine in code (mine was TFWK80A) that appeared on our posts, followed by our real name. Pseudonyms weren't allowed. (However, there actually was a mentally ill leaper who created several false names for herself over there, an early example of the problems with online anonymity. She stalked and harrassed a number of people, and it took a while to root out all her identities.)
Over on the HG boards we developed "handles" anyway, naming ourselves after people or elements from the Hitchhiker's books. Sara was Cricket Ball, Sarah was Lordy the Cat, and another friend was The Voice of the Book. Me, I refused to limit myself to one handle, so I became a Being Connected to the Nature of the Universe, specifically the idea that the moment you finally understand it, the Universe you know is replaced by something "even more bizarrely inexplicable." In practical terms, this meant that I found a different thing from the books / radio shows / records / tv series / tapes / towel to call myself, every time, for about two years. One time I might be the Story of the Reason, another time the Newspapers at Arthur's Door.
P* wasn't the world's greatest program, though. It was monochrome, email cost 25 cents each to send, and there was no copy or paste except through third-party add-ons. Then they raised the price. Julie told me about the then-new service AOL, which was much better, so I made the switch.
My first AOL screen name was KFB of PQL, as in Karen Funk Blocher of Project Quantum Leap, the fan club that consumed most of my free time during that era. A second screen name, KFB UWOT, referred to United Whovians of Tucson.
I don't look at those screen names much any more. Once or twice a month, I force myself to clean out the email a bit, but mavarin @ aol is my "home" name now. If I ever get the wireless connection to cable up and running, get my old post transferred here and quit AOL, I'll probably rely on Karen @ mavarin.com, or mavarin @ tobedetermined.com.
Most of you know by name that Mâvarin is a reference to my Mâvarin novels. Mâvarin is a place name, the name of the country where Rani and his friends live. I started this screen name specifically to write about my work on the novels over on the AOL sf / fantasy writers' boards. Later I registered the mavarin.com domain and got the web site up and running. The idea was to promote the books, both in anticipation and, more importantly, after I get them completed, sold and published. Meanwhile, it's a place where people can learn more about this Mâvarin stuff I'm always going on about, along with other pages like a tribute to my mom, the church web site and a recommended authors page.
So what does Mâvarin actually mean, beyond just being a place name? And how is it pronounced, anyway?
The accent denotes a long vowel, so it's pronounced MAY vah rinn. The Mâ part means Sun, which was added onto the land's previous name, "Varin," by the Londran colonists, in recognition of their sailing into the sunset to get to it. "Varin" means River-land, due to the river Misis that dominates the eastern part of the country. Think of the Mississippi running where I-81 and I-95 are, from New York down through Pennsylvania and Virginia and down into Florida. That's the Misis.
Oh, and how did I come up with the name, all those years ago in high school? I dunno. I just liked the sound of it. The deconstruction and translation of it came a little bit later, after I realized there was a reason why Mâvarin and the island nation of Mâton ("Sun-Rock") had the same syllable at the beginning.
Beyond all that, Mâvarin means me, my dreams, my hopes, my imagination, my writing life, my private world. It means Rani and Carli and Cathma, Fayubi and all the other characters I love so much, and want to share with you all, in this reality. As my license plate holder says, "Follow me to the country in my mind."