Is Ogarita your real name?
I hail from a family that treasures peculiar names and inflicts them on new generations with the gleeful deliberation of those who failed to come up with an innocuous nickname before first stepping onto a playground.
Members of my family have survived to adulthood despite names such as Marcus Aurelius (definitely not the Roman emperor), Yakeley, Sophronia, and worse (I’m saving those for use in future blogs).
Where does the name come from?
The Nightmare Name Box, controlled by a fiend—named either Glorinda or Moo; massive issues, either way—into which parents dip their hands in the hope of extracting a moniker that ensures their newborn grows up fast and tough.
That’s my theory, anyway.
In reality, Ogarita seems grounded in perfectly respectable European origins and migrated across the Atlantic. It appears here and there in the U.S. during the 19th century. Ogarita Booth Henderson, for example, was an actress who tripped the boards of the American stage for a few years. She also claimed to be the daughter of John Wilkes Booth; a dubious distinction. Here’s a photo of her in the role of Mary, Queen of Scots, circa 1880. About the same time, the steamboat Ogarita plowed Lake Canandaigua, New York, in the late 1800s, then bestowed its name on a modern white wine I’ve yet to taste. The two-masted schooner Ogarita sank to the bottom of Lake Huron in 1905, although there exists no evidence it plunged to the depths because of its name. Ogarita adorned a train storage car, as well as the daughter of the man who built the thing, but both are long gone.
Ogarita, I’ve been pleased to learn, has some currency among Latinas, so as the U.S. population continues to diversify, future Ogaritas may be taunted only occasionally.
Apart from having a strange name, what else do you do?
Write, mostly. Stories of ghosts and banshees, creepy houses and spooky cemeteries, stalkers and extroverts . . . pretty much anything that invokes fear.
I also paint. Badly. But I’m a whiz at cribbage, folding fitted sheets into neat squares, and stir-frying.
Where do you live?
Mostly in my head.