What’s In a Name?

A few people have asked me to explain the title of my blog, The Crayon Files. It actually evolved from an apt nickname someone once gave me.
My first name, Caron, is a French surname (as in Leslie Caron, the dancer and star of Gigi, for whom I was named).

I’ve been writing constantly since I knew how. When I was a journalist, I always scribbled down my notes in shorthand. I worked for years in the 1990s at a tabloid TV magazine that had a big youth readership. During that time, I appeared in an ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) series for children titled Writers and their World, or something similar.  I had thought it would be an innocuous little show screened during the day and forgotten. But the power of TV in those days was extraordinary. The series was shown during the day all right, but loads of children, their parents and teachers tuned in, and it was repeated for years. I was even recognised in the street! “Are you on TV?” a stranger asked me one day. “No,” I replied, truthfully I thought. “Well if you’re not, you’re a dead ringer for that girl on that show about writers,” he said. I had to then sheepishly admit that it was me after all. A local shopkeeper recognised me too.
Then the funniest part: I was then our magazine’s reporter for one of Australia’s highest rating shows, so the cast knew me well. So, one day, they were in the makeup room preparing for the day’s shooting. There was a TV in the room, which was tuned not to their own network but to the ABC.
Up pops Caron on the writers’ show episode. “Oh look,” said a cast member, one of the country’s best known actors and a writer himself now, “It’s Crayon”.
The name stuck, and quite a few colleagues called me Crayon for years—one still does.

Crayon-to-be: Caron at work at the magazine in 1990, about six years before the "Crayon" nickname came about.

Crayon-to-be: Caron at work at the magazine in 1990, about six years before the “Crayon” nickname came about.

I’ve also been nicknamed C.J., after my then initials, which morphed to Siege; and Biddle, by my parents when I was a baby, because I used to say “Biddle, biddle biddle” when I got frustrated.
Most people have had at least one nickname in their time—some stick and some don’t. If you’re Thai, you most likely use your nickname for all but the most formal of occasions.

I’d love to hear some of your nicknames and how they came about.

6 thoughts on “What’s In a Name?

  1. Date. I was always in the sun and the surf and when I squinted even a tad (or laughed uproariously) my face broke out in rivulets of wrinkles . . . like a date.

    • Hah hah! Yes, my onetime boss and colleague Garry has called me Dreary since the early 1990s. He says it is because I am very dreary. Then he laughs and says it is for the same reason people in Australia with red hair were nicknamed “Bluey”. However, I think the name Dreary suits me much better these days!

    • Thanks! Lots of people in English-speaking countries just pronounce it like “Karen”. I don’t mind too much, but I prefer the French pronunciation with the emphasis on the second syllable rather than the first.

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