What’s in a name

Today Google is wishing me a Happy Birthday. It made me smile because I had completely forgotten that today was Elen’s Birthday.

Elen is me, and at the same time she’s another person: Elen is that part of me that turns on the computer after working for 8 hours every day to write stories that maybe nobody will ever read, but she’s happy like this anyway.

I met Elen in Florence at the end of 2015, when I started writing Back in the rain. At the time I didn’t know whether I could get to publication or not, but I knew that if that moment ever arrived, I would use a pen name, and that name would be Elen.

As you know I’m Italian, and my name – my real name – is really hard to pronounce for anyone outside Italy. That’s why when I lived in Japan everybody would just call me エレ – Ele. A corean friend, though, found me a different nickname: エレンちゃん – Elen.

I always liked how unique this name is. It’s not Helen or Ellen and neither Eren (lol). It’s a name chosen by someone who has become as close as family to me in barely six months, and it’s special.

Elen is something between brave and reckless, and when the book was finally finished, I gave her the surname “Chase”. Keep chasing your dreams, girl!

And finally, her birthday… She’s as old as I am, obviously: class of 1991. We’re part of a generation that is considered lazy and unproductive, and is constantly underestimated, even though we have a better education than our parents, we work harder than they ever did and get paid a lot less. And the reason why our generation is so amazing is that we don’t give up anyway, and we try, again and again, to find new ways of surviving on our own: this is what Elen means to me.

January 19 just had to be Elen’s birthday, because it’s the birthday I chose also for Dan (parents aren’t supposed to have favorites, but I can’t help it). In him you can find some very classic traits of the Capricorn Zodiac, and that’s how I wish Elen to be, too:

Ingenious and aspiring, these natives have their own unique way of perceiving the world around them. They are resourceful and don’t sit a moment when they are in charge with solving a obstacle for them or for someone else. Calm and poised, they know how to be accommodating when something takes time and when to step in if things are going too slow.

Happy Birthday to us.

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