When I was about 14 I decided (with a friend) that we’d write a book. It was a cross between Star Trek and these SciFi adventure teen series were were reading at the time. The names of the characters clearly showed our taste in names at the time, because these were the BEST names people could have. Well, at least that was true for the girls… the boys had the most generic names EVAR, but it was all good… we were two girls writing a book that was totally a “how girls are and how we wish boys would be (cool and preoccupied with keeping the girls happy).” Suffice it to say, it wouldn’t come close to winning a Pulitzer.

So the boys names were basic, but at least they weren’t awful. Christopher and Michael were two of the best names I could think of for boys. They both had nicknames; they both were nice names unshortened. This was important because one of my characters (my favourite, of course) was vulcan and she didn’t use nicknames. She either called people by their full first names or by their last names. You know, because she was cool like that.

The other two boys were named Roger and something else. I didn’t pick the names. It turned out I picked half the names in the book and my co-author picked the other half. I don’t remember her reason for the name I can’t remember, but she figured it’d be hilarious if the kids affected a walkie-talkie speak and said things like “roger” and “over”… and therefore it’d be awesomely funny if one of the characters was named Roger. You know, like “roger, Roger.” It was a stroke of brilliance on her part, and I was all for it. I think the last guy might have been named Nick or something… it wasn’t important. It wasn’t nearly as funny as Roger.

The girls, of course, had much more care taken of them. We had Thea, because it was close to the name of one of the chicks in the books we were reading, and it was a nice name. Thea Meadows. It sounded good. She was number 2 to me, though she was my friend’s character (her fave). There was Cathrin or Caitlin… something like that. She was a redhead. Thea was brunette… in a medium brown with blonde highlights sort of way. Felicia was blonde. Her name came from a character on General Hospital (yes, the soap opera)… in the Frisco and Felicia days. She was a pretty girl, and cool (the character on the tv show) and I liked the name.

“My” character was Bianca. I don’t remember how I spelled it at the time, maybe with an extra n or c or something. I seem to remember it being a slightly longer name. I happened to be at my gramma’s a some point and the Susan Lucci character on whatever show she was on was talking about her/someone else’s baby named Bianca… and I just loved the name. I thought it was pretty and unusual and just perfect. I still think it’s a pretty name, but it’s not nearly so unusual and exotic as my 14-year-old self thought at the time (or, maybe times have changed… who knows).

Bianca was, of course, the awesomest character. She was half Betazoid, half Vulcan. She was older than she seemed (and pretended to be) because she was Vulcan, and she was just pretending to be a student with these other kids because she was supposed to uncover some plot against this planet/the governor’s family. It was TOTALLY retarded. Christopher, of course, was the governor’s son. She fell into like with him. She ran with his friends and at the end there was gonna be some massive attack which she was gonna defend against and die awesomely and tragically. The whole damn thing was deliciously bad. I cherish this thing like I cherish a really bad joke. It just warms the heart.

I strived really hard near the end of the run there… I kept writing the book long after we were no longer going to school together or keeping in touch… to not make it a complete one-sided affair. As a 14 year old, all I wrote was about my character, and all my friend wrote was about hers. Everyone else was peripheral. By the time I was 16 I realized it was dumb, that the other characters needed to be fleshed out and have their own lives/own story if this was supposed to be the kind of story it was supposed to be (an ensemble teen scifi book). Then I decided it really was just a steaming pile with 2 “good” bits of writing from a certain perspective and that I was not a book writer. It was a good run though.

Shortly thereafter I got a boyfriend and he occupied a bunch of my time and crap, so it didn’t matter anyway. I went back to re-edit it a few times between then and about 5 years ago (when we got the house) but each time I realized that I was no Tolkien (or even Peter David). It’s hard to be excited about a bad teen book written by a trekkie when you’re no longer a teen or a trekkie. ya know?

But still, I can look back and see that Bianca was every bad-assed thing I thought was “good” in a person/character. It was, in a way, the kind of person I wanted to be at 14. Tough, smart, pretty, and not giving a damn about what other people thought. She was petite (I’m short, what do you expect), dark haired, and thoroughly exotic (can you get more exotic than half-vulcan / half-betazed?). She was special. She was thoroughly logical, but could also read thoughts (fortunately the vulcan training meant she had no trouble shielding) and was in every way Extra Special. Since I was an average, typical, boring 14 year old girl… she was frikkin perfect.

Sure, I gave her flaws, but they were the kind of flaws one wouldn’t mind having… or at least I wouldn’t. You know how you cherish certain flaws you have. I love the fact that I suck at remembering names. I like that I’m a bitch. Some people call them flaws, but I don’t think of it as a “flaw” so much as a Personality Quirk. Bianca was like that. Her “flaws” were cool. I liked that.

I’m glad I got over her before I started playing D&D… that might have gotten kinda ugly. I’m already attached to some of my characters (Liara) a lot and it would have sucked to try to fit her into a rule system character generation mold.

At 14, apparently I wanted to be smart but totally cool, someone everyone loved, but who cared about very little. I wanted to be cool like the guys but still be a girl… this is the same time I thought “Fighter Pilot” would be an AWESOME career… even though I knew I’d have an issue with that whole authority thing… and the waking up early in the morning. I’m pretty sure it’s not just the army that’s up by 7am…

I’m over her now. She’s not all that cool, really. She was a very shallowly developed character because I couldn’t actually write any real character development… I didn’t know how to “show” instead of “tell” which is important in a good piece of writing. If I were to make the character now she’d have so much more depth and nuance, understanding what I find is really important in a psyche as a thirty year old woman, rather than what I thought was neat at 14.

I think it’s rare to have such a stark example of how much you’ve changed in your life. I don’t have super many examples, myself. I didn’t keep a diary, and of course my random memories are colored with time and 16 years more of experience in understanding myself and the world around me… understanding things going on I didn’t know about at the time.

But every once in a while, I’m fucking 14 again… boring, plain, insecure… I get that way when I think about showing people my work, for instance. She was good for that. She stiffened my backbone sometimes. I had a model of what I wanted to be. A rather clear one, at that. I don’t know how many people have that at 14.

4 Responses to “Bianca”

  1. Mrs_B (now you will know what the B stands for) Says:

    Wow….you like the name Bianca…..seems kind of poetic that you would like the name of a person (me) who considers themselves on the boarderline of crazy and sane……If you ever have a kid would you use that name (for a girl)? I personally, hated my name for the longest time but have grown accustomed to it in the past few years….I like it now for its uniqueness……..I guess my middle name is somewhat nice too (michelle)…..

    Just thought I would share.


  2. Aoife Says:

    I never actually thought of naming one of my kids that name (should I ever have any, and every year it looks less likely… kids being the amount of work they are and all…). I wouldn’t, because I’ve already picked and agreed on names for my kids with he who would have 1/2 the right to name them.

    We all have things about ourselves that we don’t like. It’s up to us to change that. Sometimes that means changing the way we see ourselves to see what we really are, not what we’ve convinced ourselves we are, and sometimes that means changing that trait that really is “non-desirable.”

    Take, for instance, fatness. An overweight chick and an anorexic chick both see themselves as fat. The fat chick needs to change the trait, if she’s fat and she doesn’t like that, she needs to work to lose weight. The anorexic chick needs to fix her view… realize that no matter how much she thinks she’s fat, she’s not… she needs to change the way she sees herself.

    And both of them need to realize that they are not defined by one trait alone. And that having a trait does not define their worth as human beings.

    Name, like everything else about you, isn’t defining if you don’t want it to be and can change if you want to… or, you can learn to change your view of it. Just like every other trait: good, bad, or silly.

    Believe it or not, most of us are borderline crazy, some people just hide it better than others. Noone sees beneath the surface of someone who seems just fine… I mean, hell… all those serial killers that when you interview their neighbors always say how [he] seemed to be such a normal person….

    We all have our dysfunctions… esp. those of us brought up in normal western society. We just live with them, and try not to let us be ruled by our own psychoses… Noone gets to have a perfect life, even if it seems it from the outside. It’s what we make of our lives, ourselves, our situations that speaks as to who and what we are… besides rattled, huddled human beings just wanting a frikkin nap.

  3. Doc_Bev Says:


    Huh… I had forgotten all about those stories.
    Although being the professional pack rat that I am I probably still have them around somewhere in a box.

    First time making it over to your website. Very spiffy!
    I’ve never gotten into blogging myself - could never even keep up with a regular old diary either I’m afraid.

    I was just working on your Holiday card now and thought I’d look you up.


  4. Aoife Says:

    Holy Crap Dude!
    I was just working on cards too! Well, earlier today, that is. Like totally thinking about how I wasn’t keeping in touch ‘cuz I saw something I had started and meant to send to you but hadn’t finished it yet.

    So good to hear from you, dear! I’ll have to shoot you an email. Now that I finally can remember that there are other things in life besides paper-writing.

    And I’ll bet if you looked at that silly story you’d laugh as much as I do about how very, very sucky it is.

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