Friday, July 11, 2008


After I read my story at Literary Death Match a couple of weeks ago, one of the judges commented on my name. In short, he said it wouldn't work for a literary career. John Williams is a common name, after all, and the composer who shares it will likely be better known no matter how much I accomplish. I think the judge was at least half kidding, but let's run with it (please also run with any presumption inherent to this post). I've always felt it was a challenge of sorts -- to become respected (not famous) enough to overcome the difficulty of being identified. But even in the literary world, there is at least one cult classic written by a John Williams.

Here were the top ten names for baby boys in the U.S. in 1950 (via Megan McArdle):

1. James
2. Robert
3. John
4. Michael
5. David
6. William
7. Richard
8. Thomas
9. Charles
10. Gary

I was born many years after 1950, but still. My full name is #3, followed by #4, followed by #6 with an "s" at the end. It seems the only likely combination with a lower quotient would be James John Roberts. (Chief Justice John Roberts' middle name is Glover. He was born in 1955.)

I'm not complaining. I like my names. And I think I'm sticking with them. Initials and nicknames and such...they have the air of trying too hard. J. M. Williams? That's not me.


Blogger Todd said...

William John Williams? Oh, wait.

6:03 AM  
Anonymous Kevin Longrie said...


Michael J. Williams

William J. Michaels.

J.W. Michaels.

9:37 PM  

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