As we continue redecorating around here and packing up the old boxes, I thought I'd let you know where the name taleswapper came from.

According to this site, there are 13,683 people with my name in the US. (Interesting. It was 13,682 a week ago. Where did they get the updated information?) It's a pretty common name, so from early on I've usually been unable to get my name as the login for popular services, like Yahoo or AIM.

Way back before the public internet, at University we had a little group chat program on the mainframe. It was called cb, and it was my first use of a "handle." Back then I loved the Grape Nehi, so I chose "Radar."

For the record, I never slept with a teddy bear.

Radar was a fine pseudonym, but it isn't quite unique enough. As I left university and the internet blossomed, I found myself running into sites where the account name was already taken. Not wanting to put 32 numbers after my real name, I turned to "taleswapper."

Taleswapper is a character in the Alvin Maker series of books by Orson Scott Card. The series is an alternate history set in a North America where magic ("knacks") is real and what we think of at the US doesn't quite gel as a single nation. The Taleswapper character, in fact, is a kind of pseudonym. The character is also known as William Blake. He was not a primary character, but he wanders around trading stories for food and putting new stories into his journal.

I thought the moniker made sense for my first blog, where I intended to write about restaurants I'd visited and books I had read.

In addition, I liked the world view that I read into the series. It might shock the author to know this, but I feel like the early writing of Card really lead me down the path to the more liberal person I've become. I'm thinking especially of the strength of community and desire to heal after genocide in Speaker for the Dead and the amazing image of the consequences of hasty violence and war in the Alvin Maker books. In the Alvin Maker series, the residents of Vigor Church are cursed because of their part in a massacre -- a massacre generated by a frenzy of misinformation, mistrust of The Other, and general selfishness. The curse is: Whenever a visitor comes to town, the residents must tell their story or their hands will start to bleed.

After we make the name switch, I'll explain the change.

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