For

and I played the Q&A game.

A reminder of the game:

Rules of Engagement:
1) You comment, requesting an interview.
2) I'll respond by asking you five questions.
3) You'll then post an LJ entry, answering my questions.
4) You'll refer to these rules.
5) You'll come up with five questions, when folks ask you.

1. Do you have a preferred nickname, and under what circumstances do you
use it of yourself, or do you let other people use it to you? (Why do I
ask? Because my given name and yours share the same (obvious)
abbreviation, but I use mine only with friends and/or longtime customers;
in most business contexts, I use the longer form. I'm just curious to see
if you do the same.)

I've never been the cheerleader-type, and I tend to be opposed to cheerleader-type names, like “Kathy” for “Katherine,” or “Susie” for “Susan,” and of course, the worst of all “Missy” for “Melissa.” In fact, anyone who calls me “Missy” is liable to come to some bodily harm. Partly, I guess, it's conditioning from childhood. My mother always said if she'd wanted me to be called “Missy,” that's what she'd have named me in the first place.
(Note, please don't assume that if you're reading this and you have such a name, I'm knocking you or your name. Because above all, people should be called what they WISH to be called.) I think, especially once you're out of your teens and in the working world using nicknames in business makes you seem weaker and less credible, also. And this isn't a female-centric thing, either. Most men (with some noted regional exceptions) cease to be “Billy” or “Bobby” or “Jimmy” when they grow up, and if they still use a nickname, switch to “Bill,” “Bob,” or “Jim.” So I'm not now, nor have I ever been, “Missy,” but among very close friends, I'll accept “Mel” because it's efficient, though even those friends who take that option generally do it only in text, not in speech. And in business, well, my cards have my middle initial on them. I like it. It balances the first and last name.

Growing up, the only nickname that was ever based on my name is the domain I just bought, “Miss Meliss,” and that doesn't bother me, because most of my name is still in it, and because I like the way it sounds (alliteration makes everything better.) Oh, sure, various relatives used all those cannibal words (sweety, honey, pumpkin, cupcake, sweety pie), but that's completely different. But otherwise, it's just “Melissa.”

On a tangent, my high school had very large Korean, Vietnamese and Hmong populations, so I was always surrounded by Asian friends who would change their names to American names, “to make them easier for people to say” and I never understood that. I think if you have a name you like, you should require people to learn to pronounce it. (But then, I've never understood why, if you tell someone how to pronounce something, they can't always repeat it back to you, either.)

2. You've got a bunch of domains. Is there one single domain that you
wish you'd bought, way back when?

Melissa.com, of course :)
No, really, there isn't. At the time when I was first interested in owning my own domain, I had a hard rule about using my real name online EVER – which is why, to this day, I have a whole group of friends who know me only as “Zeni” or “Zenobia”. (Yes, with a Z, the X here in LJ is because I'm unoriginal, and someone ELSE had Zenobia when I signed up…).

I regret that when we sold PaperlessLoan.com, the business, we didn't include some sort of contract to keep the domain if they ever stopped using it, but that's another story.

3. How do you feel about getting older? Does it scare you, excite you,
depress you – what's your take as you inch towards the mid-thirties?

I think, now that we've decided that we're trying to conceive a child, I feel the clock ticking a bit closer to my ear, but for the most part, I don't think about it. Being in your mid-thirties today is nothing like it was, even in our parents age – and anyway, I still look twelve, except for a few hairs that are grey. (And those will be fixed as soon as I have a moment.)

I'm looking forward to being really old and eccentric. I am NOT looking forward to my parents hitting the age where they become dependents, and I fear that is coming sooner than I want it to.

4. Did you read under the covers with a torch as a child – and if so,
what were you reading?

Yes, absolutely, under the covers, with a flashlight, or, once I had a canopy bed, I'd put curtains all the way around it, with a clip-on light inside the curtains, so I could read to my heart's content. I read everything. As a little kid (5-7-ish) I read the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew mysteries, and the Little House… books, and a great mix of classics and just whatever looked interesting. I first encountered Madeleine L'Engle through A Wrinkle in Time when I was eight or so…read that over the course of a snowbound weekend, tucked up in bed, with a dog for company and lots of cocoa and tuna-fish with still-hot hard boiled egg mixed in – isn't it funny how these questions prompt such specific memories? In high school, I didn't have to have the flashlight any more, but I still did a lot of reading in bed…it's soft and quiet there. I'd go to the library, and come back with my backpack so overstuffed that I could barely ride my bike home…

5. It's five years from now, on a Sunday evening. What are you doing, and
how is it different from what you might do on a Sunday now?

Hopefully by then we'll have a child, so, I envision a quiet, cozy Sunday night. It's January, there's a mild rain outside, and a fire crackling in the fireplace. Fuzzy's on his computer, with the dogs in their beds at his feet. I've just released him from helping with bath duty, because any child we have must inherit my feeling that there is nothing so pleasant as slipping into clean sheets after a bath.

I'm in his or her bedroom, the lamp is the only light, and we're reading a story. Probably something like In the Night Kitchen or Where the Wild things Are or something by Milne. I do all the voices, of course.
After a chapter, there are kisses and pleasant dreams wished, and I close the door, and go to my computer, and blog, or write something, and chat with Fuzzy, and pause now and then to smooch with him…

And if we don't have a child, things likely won't change that much. I like quiet Sunday evenings. I like to be HOME on Sunday evenings…it's important to me. I like bubblebaths and curling up for a movie, and then going to our computers…sometimes I go into our bedroom for alone-time until two or three, when Fuzzy comes to bed.

But there will definitely be dogs. :)

CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 For <lj user="bibliogirl"> by Melissa Bartell is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.