Although DargonZine gets a lot of email of various kinds, one of the most interesting classes of correspondence we receive often begins something like this: “I’d like to know how you happened to pick the name ‘Dargon’, because it’s my surname!” Over the years, we’ve received a handful of email from people who share names with characters, places, and things that we’ve written about.
Most often, the inquiry has been about the surname “Dargon”, which is so rare (as a last name) that it doesn’t even appear in a list of the 89,000 most common surnames compiled from a sample of 6.3 million respondents to the 1990 US Census. I also recently received an inquiry from someone with the last name “Asbridge”. Asbridge is the 41,447th most common surname in the US, according to the Census Bureau, but it’s also a rarely-referenced Dargon place name. Of course, now that it’s appeared as a topic in a DargonZine Editorial, the chances are even higher that a random search for “Asbridge” will bring up a link to our site!
Generally, the people who contact us in this manner are interested in one or both of two simple questions: how we came up with the name, and whether we have any genealogical or contact information about other people who share the surname.
Much of the time, there’s not much we can say about how the names we use have been chosen. Picking names for characters and places is often a very personal thing for most writers, and that’s something our writers haven’t discussed very often. Furthermore, since the names most likely to appear at the top of search engine listings are those that we’ve used the longest, it’s very likely that any inquiries we receive about them could only be answered by writers who have long since left the project. And “Dargon”, in particular, is one name we don’t have a good answer for; it just happened.
As for putting people in touch with others who share their surname, that’s pretty far outside our area of expertise. Most of the names you see in Dargon aren’t derived from the names of people we know; we consider that a dubious practice at best. So it’s very unlikely that we can offer any assistance to folks who put their surnames into a search engine and wonder why a DargonZine story appears in their search results.
Given the thousands of names that Dargon stories have generated over the years, it’s not surprising that there are “collisions” between real surnames and the names we’ve created to populate the world of Dargon. I wish we could offer a better response to those folks who see their names and wonder how the link from one to the other happened. But I also wonder how often this kind of thing must happen to other writers, as well. Do you think anyone named “Beren” ever wrote J.R.R. Tolkien, or anyone named “Garion” wrote to David Eddings, inquiring about their use of the name?
It’s a small world — or set of worlds — indeed!
In this issue, P. Atchley resumes the impressive run of great stories she began 18 months ago. The original outline for this month’s “Sy Burns” was actually written two years ago, but the story ran into numerous roadblocks along the way to publication. Expect to continue to see lots of work from her this year, as she has become one of our most active writers.
This issue also features the conclusion to Victor Cardoso’s “Jakob Sings of Monstrous Things”, which began in DargonZine 14-9. If you enjoyed this story, please drop Victor a note to encourage him to keep up the good work!
After delivering on my promise that you wouldn’t have to wait three months for this issue to arrive, now I have even better news. After our pipeline of submissions ran dry last year, our veteran writers have gotten back on track, and we’ve had a number of new writers come on board who have also begun cranking out stories. We have more than a dozen tales nearing completion, and that will keep us in business for the foreseeable future. As you can see on our recently-updated Publication Schedule page, we’ve planned out the contents and dates for our next six issues, and should easily be able to stick to our goal of distributing a new issue every four to six weeks.
Thanks for bearing with us during the somewhat irregular schedule we had for the past six months; however, we’ve got plenty more stories to share, containing names both familiar and new, and we will have a regular and predictable presence in your inbox for the rest of the year.