Well, if I called the wrong number, why did you answer the phone? -James Thurber
Question #91409 posted on 06/09/2018 8:30 p.m.
Q:

Dear Anathema,

noun:
1) a person or thing detested or loathed:
2) a person or thing accursed or consigned to damnation or destruction.
3) a formal ecclesiastical curse involving excommunication.

[http://www.dictionary.com/browse/anathema]
(and 4, of course, as explained in Board Question #88565...)

... How do you feel about this? Have you come to reclaim a happier definition for a seemingly dismal word?

-Guesthouse

A:

Dear Austen,

Well, the question you linked to--while containing the main reason I chose this 'nym--didn't quite have all of it. 

When I applied to be a writer, I knew that I wanted to take the name of a strong female character from a Terry Pratchett book. More than that, I wanted to be one of his witches. Mainly because being a witch in his universe means taking care of all the ordinary things of life, out of which magic happens to sometimes arise. I relate to this in that I often dream like a poet, but in order to realize my dreams, I have my feet solidly planted in logic and hard work. Basically, I wanted to be able to capture this dichotomy of the fantastical with no-nonsense ordinary life in my 'nym.

Granny Smith was too old sounding, especially since I was just 19 when I applied (and man, that seems really weird since I'm 21 now, and has it really been almost two years ago since I started the application process?). Same with Nanny Ogg (and not to mention that I didn't really want too strong of an association with a character known for making innuendos). Agnes was too plain, Tiffany wouldn't be recognized as from Terry Pratchett, and Magrat just sounded... bad. That left Eskarina and Anathema. 

I ultimately went with Anathema out of a kind of bitter joke with myself. 

You see, I was consistently bullied and generally disliked by the majority of my classmates from the time I was in third grade all the way through eighth grade. I came to just expect people to dislike me when we first met. Things got better once I got to high school, but I still didn't have particularly good friends. In fact, it wasn't until this past year that I was able to say for the first time that I had a strong group of good friends. 

So I chose Anathema over Eskarina to hearken to my failed social life.

But now the 'nym means something else than my past as a pariah, which I alluded to in Board Question #90441. I hope that in a way I have reclaimed the word 'anathema'. Because what it represents to me now is the sum of my experiences as a writer. And hopefully readers who read my responses under this 'nym have come to associate anathema with a sense of whimsy coupled with a love of learning.

~Anathema