A Name Means Everything or Nothing

6 Nov

The latest Barrelhouse has names that go whoa like Joey Lawrence.

Name like Amber Sparks who tells you about heroes and anti-heroes and becoming heroes, and there’s always a wizard, but these heroes, they always start as a man or a woman very much like you or me and there’s usually a dark forest.

Name like Aaron Burch, that’s right, the Aaron Burch who predicts the weather, and his characters like to make out in backseats and drink wine from maybe boxes, because that’s what high school was supposed to feel like, don’t you remember? Proms and pins and promises.

Name like Roxane Gay who makes me feel tough and lonely and like maybe I’d have made a good woman, a strong woman, if I had been born into that lot.

Name like Brian Oliu who plays a lot of video games and who says video games rot your brains, because Brian’s brains look beautiful on paper like, “I am a beautiful fighter.  I have such a style.  I will picture my fist breaking through the back of your skull.  I will have hair on my arm.  I want to touch the space behind where you stand.  Tell me you understand what this means.  Tell me that there is something to this.  I have my weakness but I will not tell you.”

Name like Jyotsna Sreenivasan, which I’ve never actually heard before but wow how that name feels on the tongue, and how her story swirls and spirals, there are roads like spaghetti bowls, and how we forget where we are, where are we, bearings, coodinates, God help us all.

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