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Thursday, April 11, 2013


A to Z 2013 : THE JAK

(An A to Z 2013 Challenge Entry)

There are so many “J” choices to choose from. Like... Just (one I’ve seen many people picking)... Oh! Fun fact: “Just” is the one word I misspell the most over any other. It always comes out “jsut” for some reason. The faster I am attempting to type the more that poor word is butchered. Hmm... there is Jello. Used to love it, but now rarely eat it unless my grandmother makes it. So many... Hmm... I shouldn’t be struggling. Jumbo... makes me think of Crooks.

With so many choices, I suppose this could be viewed as taking the easy way out. That’s because this post will be about me, but honestly, not completely exactly...

We Are Anonymous

While I was exploring some of the participant links of the A to Z Challenge I came across one or two bloggers expressing their anonymity. That if knowing him/her and/or their family, to please keep said information private. They are anonymous, and want to keep it that way, so respect it.

I guess that would make me anonymous too, and like them, I ask that anyone actually knowing me to respect my wishes of remaining so. It isn’t anyone’s place, but my own, to give out any personal information of name, address, where I frequent late Sunday evenings, or what color of boxers I am wearing at any given time (today is blue).

Thanks ;-)

Give It a Name

Jak wasn’t my birth-given name, though that would have been pretty sweet. I’ve had an attachment to the name Jack for as long as I can remember. Maybe I was secretly meant to receive that name, but my parents just weren't fully aware.

Everything is given a name. From people, to objects, to emotions, to hypothetical ideas. For children, the names can be inspired from relatives; books; food...; or, like my name, movies.  I’d imagine when finding out you are about to be a mother/father, picking a name for your child is one of the funnest aspects. I am pretty sure I would enjoy it, but that may be because I already have some picked out. Getting the mother to agree on said names, well... that’s another thing altogether.

Reminiscing about my nick name, and some incidents with friends I’ve recently made from NaNoWriMo, prompted this post. Everyone I met at NaNoWriMo I was introduced to as Jak. In fact, many people over the past few years have come to know me as Jak. Most were (still are) completely unaware of what my real name is.

Exactly why is this?

Mainly, this is because I’ve used the Jak Cryton moniker online since I was a teenager. Ever since being exposed to the internet via AOL. Oh, lovely AOL and your ever memorable dial up tone and “You’ve Got Mail” greeting. Ah, nostalgia. Just as every superhero has an origin story, so do nicknames. I have many (Jak/EmoJak/slowplay). I thought I would give some background to how I received one of mine; where Jak Cryton came from.

You ready?

I Come From a Long Line of Jacks

Jak/Jack has undergone an evolution through the years.

The name Jack has been used for characters since I began playing with army men. His name was Jack Striker. He was a badass, of course. Somehow always the only surviving member of his squad. He would then have to hunt down those who killed his comrades in a blaze of glory!

Eventually, I upgraded to G.I. Joes and Jack Striker was kept. Naturally, he was still as badass as his army men counterpart. Now, however, he could move at multiple joints/hip! For whatever reason, whenever I played with army men thereafter, the name I would use was Jack Deth.

Then I began playing D&D. I was a DM/GM for the better part of two to four years. I never really kept track. while creating the world and campaign for the adventures (friends/fam) I began to feel the tuggings of wanting to write stories taking place in this campaign. This was the adolescence of my epic triple trilogy wanting to burst from my mind, but remains locked.

Back then, though, I was writing. During the process of creating this campaign I was simultaneously creating events and characters for my stories. This is where Jack evolved into Jak Cryton. One thing about Fantasy/Adventure writing I noticed was they always tried to change common names into unique names. Whether that meant dropping a letter, or spelling it in a new way while still maintaining the pronunciation.

So Jack became Jak. Cryton was a randomized last name I created. I can’t recall the exact process. One method I like to use is to grab a newspaper and randomly drop the tip of a pen/pencil down multiple times. Then I make a name out of those letters. If I am lucky, a name comes out of the exact order of letters picked. This is how Kendrid Retry (main character of Demons of Twilight) was born.

Jak Cryton became one of my favorite characters, so when I entered the expansive domain of the interwebs that was the handle/screenname I choose. The rest, in a sense, is history. I have used Jak Cryton as a screenname for almost all my online interactions. Using it to remain anonymous, never really trusting the online world. Chances are you can find my nickname most anywhere online 5000x more so than my real.

I like it that way, and plan to uphold that for as long as possible.

Revelation Hesitation

The plan was to just come out and “reveal” myself (this post is another that has been planned for months) and share my name with the digital world; anyone following along. Part of this is because the new friends I made, over time, began to continually ask what my real name was. We had known each other for months, but I was still essentially nameless.

There are others who believe there are deeper reasons as to why I use my nickname over my real name. They may be right. For the first time this past winter I claimed Ja(c)k was my real name. Not seriously, but I hadn’t ever done that before. I would beat around the bush, deflect, redirect the conversation elsewhere, but never say it was my name.

It was then I began to think that perhaps these people were right. That I was hiding behind my nickname, perhaps to avoid letting anyone “in” too close. So I was determined to share my real name with them, but that took some time all on it’s own. While many now know it, I am uncertain if they all do. So far they seem to respect the use of my nickname, which I prefer, but I want to tell myself either is fine.

It’s odd, to say the least. I’m odd!

I am barely going to get this post up in time, so I am going to cut this off here. Someday I will feel comfortable sharing my real name with the world, online or otherwise. There are even hints sprinkled throughout this post.

Do have a nickname? Where did it originate from? Anyone else have an odd neurotic aversion to sharing their real name (more so online)?


  1. No neurotic aversions to sharing my real name online. Honestly, I never really thought about it. I figure, as long as I don't share my name and address, I'm cool.

    That being said, I LOVE the name Jak--however you want to spell it. Every character that I've ever read named Jack is always awesome, which is how I fell in love with the name to begin with.

    And, personally, I kinda hate my name. If I could get people to call me something else, I would. I actually tried for awhile, going by a different name online and for writing, until I read an article saying that most agents find the use of a pen name to be "pretentious and unnecessary" unless you've already published in a different genre and are trying to switch.

    So, since I was building whatever online platform I was going to have, I decided I might as well do it under my own crappy name. haha
    But I say more power to you! The world would be way more awesome if we could all pick our own names.

    1. Yeah, see with just your name people can find all sorts of info. I owned a site once back in my MMO gaming days. Someone looked up the site owner info and from that they essentially knew my general where abouts.

      One time, another had my full name and address and I think that just solidified me not sharing the info and sticking to the nickname/alias.

      I'd like to think Jak Cryton is pretty awesome :) I don't really hate my name, but I have definitely been semi-obsessed with Jack. I even have a story idea with that aspect involved.

      Boo to pretentious. I do hope to cross-genre, but I have yet another name I'd use for a pen name, if so!

  2. I don't mind which of my names people use. I was given the name Ermie by some university friends a very long time ago - they were drunk and had been looking for fairies in the woods(seriously!)and I had been working for three nights straight on an assignment. Good times. :-)

    1. Kirsten! You're alive! Sweet bajeebus >.< I was curious about the Ermie name. I am liking the fugitive Ermie series. Did your friends think you were the faerie they were looking for?

  3. I am grand sharing my first name, my last name is something differently. I never really had a nickname because my name is so short - that was the intention of my mum, she wanted to avoid me having nicknames. I get called jetski or j-dog, because we are awesome cool black rappers here.....

    1. J-dog... I like that. I was once called Rock-J back in the day by a friend :) he was T-Dawg.

  4. I have no problem using my real name online. It's my exact location that I like to keep pretty vague. I didn't used to be comfortable using my actual name in any public forum because I thought people would be too distracted by how ridiculous it is to be able to take me seriously. I've gotten past that and I now embrace it.

    On the other hand, I have no problem if somebody else doesn't share their true name. If we have a lovely interaction, I'll call you whatever you want and that's what I'll know you as. Whether or not it happens to be the name on your birth certificate matters not. I don't care if you want people to call you Spongebob. If you're a nice person, that's what matters to me.

    I don't feel cheated or deceived and would never pry. It's your choice, Spongebob.
    Loving your blog, by the way. I am happy we connected through A to Z. I actually wrote a lengthy response to the Hauntings post, but for some reason it didn't post. Son of a...

    1. I didn't want to be rude, but I had wondered if the name had caused any kind of issues growing up, or publicly. It is awesome you embrace it!

      Most people don't mind if someone uses a nickname, for the most part. Then again, they sometimes really want to know your real name. I can understand.

      Sorry your post never went through on Haunting. Wonder why that happened :( I'd love to read your experience!

  5. I don't share any personal info online except my first name and the city which I live near. I'm not in to write a book or make money, so there really is no reason for me to have to share it. It just seems safer not to, especially since I have kids. Pretty sad that we have to think of such things, but it is what it is.
    It was interesting to read where your name came from. I never would have guessed Jak wasn't your real name.

    1. With having kids I was curious about that Coop. I kind of always just want to call you Coop.

      I wonder if people come back to check on replies to comments? I am bad at it lol

      I think it is a viable concern to not share too much personal information over the internet!

  6. Aha! I knew you would get it in.. just in the nick of time. ;) Thank you.

  7. I will always call you Jak. Because.

  8. So funny, as a person who writes books and sells them online you'd think I'd be all about having a penname but no, I use my real name for everything now. I did start out online many years ago with nicknames, one of which included the middle name I almost had - Joy - while not including the other middle name I could've had - Dorothy. I never got a middle name because they couldn't decide. So it hit me early on I'd never be able to be one of those cool Authors who just went by initials and a last mane. So I chucked caution to the wind and just went with my real name.

    I like the name Jak, especially as a writer of fantasy your penname really just works.

    1. That is great that you are comfortable with your name. I think being I am going to attempt different genres, it isn't a bad idea to have a penname. Who's to say I guess.

      So you have no middle name? That is... oddly interesting lol

  9. Hey Jak, I started the A-Z with 'A for Andy'. Not very anonymous! Today is K day and I've got blog-block and a massive headache. Hopefully regroup for tomorrow!!

    1. I see you got something down for K! I've been having a few stumped letters. That bad part is, I've had topics planned for them, but can't seem to get to writing them.

  10. For years, I was Pixie. You might still hear people calling me that online. In fact, my boyfriend still has the name for me in his phone. He even discussed possibly calling me that in RL since I share my real name with his sister and that's just weird.

    My first username was chosen when I was 16. It was pixie_vixen117 on yahoo. 117 is my lucky number (though now it's just 17). And I thought the name sounded cool. When I'd go out with my high school friends, we'd pick new names to "play as". I was always Pixie. They said I had cute pixie ears so it was fitting. My best friend, Brandy, went by Tatum and we were known as Pixie and Tatum for a bit.

    I kept the Pixie name for all my online accounts and people over on Livejournal (where I've blogged for 10 years) almost always call me Pixie... it was weird at first, but now it's just who I am over there.

    My blog is the first time I came out as Kristen. And it's specifically set up to have my name all over it because it's where I want to share my writing with the world. Livejournal is where I get to be brutally honest and open because it's closed only to my Livejournal friends, not real life folks (though I have many public entries for the writing contest I was in). I only just recently changed my name to something without a 17 in it... I changed it pixiebelle. The first username I've had other than pixie117 or pixie_vixen117 since I was 16. That name had been with me for 15 years or so. Pretty crazy, huh?

    Sorry for writing a novel of a comment... I tend to do that sometimes. Anyway, I've sort of kept the pixie name around because I love it and because my best friend Brandy/Tatum died two years ago of cancer and I can't bring myself to leave the name behind.

    I may be an 80 year old woman with people still knowing me as "Pixie" and that's okay. I do love fairies :)


    1. I really like Pixie, Kristen :) I may accidentally intentionally call you that!

      Interesting about the Fav Num. I also happen to like 17. My "lucky" number is 7, though nothing has ever seemingly come from it.

      I've never used Live Journal (to my recollection anyhow). Some friends I know use it. I'm not sure why I never got into it. Another friend talks about Death Journal or something too? Dead Journal maybe? Like a polar opposite. I wonder if it was a really emo place.

      What made you use your real name over a penname? to have it linked to your work right away or? What prompted Pixiebelle? It is crazy how a username/handle can follow you around for so long.

      I don't mind long responses lol As you've seen from my own on your blog, I have the same habit.

      Sorry to hear about your friend. Like I said I will possibly call you Pixie sometime :)

      I'm pretty sure that if I ever reach that age people will call me Jak! That would be awesome!

  11. I obviously don't share my real name, and am not sure if I ever will. With people that have become more of friends that I email with, I have, but publically on my blog? I don't think so. It just makes me feel too vulnerable that anyone could find me. Though, Kianwi is just a melding of my real names, so in a way I'm using my real name :)

    If you like the name Jak so much, why not change your name in real life? You're allowed to do that, you know :)

    1. I completely understand that Kianwi! It makes a lot more sense to share it with those you've interacted with on a higher, consistent basis. Unfortunately, you are right. A lot of people can find way too much information about someone with very little starting knowledge.

      I've thought about changing my name, but not to Jak (or Jack) as odd as that sounds lol ;-)


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