I was christened Carolyn Cain Hart, and named after my mom’s best friend, Carol Duffessy. Given our family’s short last name, my mother felt I should have a few more letters in my first. My father wanted me to carry Cain, his mother’s maiden name, as my middle. For most of my childhood, my family and playmates called me Carol. But in middle school, I reclaimed that extra syllable and insisted I was Carolyn.
Some people know me as Carolyn, while others call me CC, and a few folks still refer to me as Carol. My family, my therapeutic massage clients, and my friends from before the early aughts all call me Carolyn, or sometimes Carol. But my connections in the arts community and those who know me as a neurodiversity advocate most often recognize me as CC.
I started using the name CC Hart on all of my writing and creative projects in 2006 when I learned there was another author named Carolyn Hart. She’s been wonderfully successful in her genre (mystery fiction) and has a loyal following of fans (kudos to you, Carolyn Hart!). She also owns the URL carolynhart.com. I shared this information with my writing instructor Lewis Buzbee, lamenting that it felt daunting to publish my essays and poetry under my given name when the other Carolyn Hart has brought multiple titles to market. I told Lewis I was thinking about using one of my family names, either O’Leary or Landers as a pseudonym. He asked me what my middle name was; I told him Cain. “You should use your first two initials,” he said. And that was that. Lewis started calling me CC, my classmates in my MFA in Writing program at the University of San Francisco began calling me CC, and my first published works noted my name as CC Hart.
My neurocognitive differences have a profound impact on my creative projects, so it makes sense that people in the neurodiveristy community call me CC. However, my friend James Wannerton, a lexical->gustatory synaesthete prefers to call me Carolyn. He says that the longer version of my name tastes far better!
Carol, Carolyn, CC. I’m all three. And each of these names is the prettiest shade of cerulean blue.