I was christened Carolyn Cain Hart, 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 7th grade, I reclaimed that extra syllable and insisted I was Carolyn.
A few folks from way-back-when still refer to me as Carol; most people know me as Carolyn, including my therapeutic massage clients. 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 many published novels and a loyal following of fans. Kudos and fireworks and happy things to you, other Carolyn Hart! She also owns the URL carolynhart.com.
In the mid-aughts, I shared my trepidation with my writing instructor Lewis Buzbee, lamenting that it felt daunting to attempt publishing my essays and poetry under my given name when the other Carolyn Hart has brought multiple titles to market. I told Lewis I was planning to use 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 advocacy, so it makes sense that people in the neurodiveristy community know me as CC. However, my friend James Wannerton, a lexical->gustatory synaesthete prefers to call me Carolyn. He told me once 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.