So, kids, it’s time to have the talk. The talk about the queen of “punk cabaret,” Amanda Palmer. If you are a music fan, you’ve heard of her. If you read Neil Gaiman, you’ve heard of her since they’re married. If you read any articles related to the horrible bombing at the Boston Marathon, you’ve probably heard of her since she wrote a too-soon poem involving one of the bastards who committed the crime.
Of course, I have an opinion about her, too. I admit to obsessing over Amanda Palmer, but only by accident. I don’t listen to her music because, while I think the concept of “punk cabaret” is bloody genius, her music is too confessional for me. I need more irony and feedback in my musical diet. So, I went on my merry way, and then I wrote the first draft of my rock ‘n’ roll mystery, “Heavy Mental” starring … Clancy Palmer.
Yup, that’s right. “Palmer,” not “Parker.” Clancy’s last name was originally “Palmer.” When I decided I was going to write a novel, I was riding in a car, listening to “Pet Sounds,” enjoying a view of palm trees and just loving being a California girl. Palmer seemed totally logical. Then, when My Man started reading the first draft of “Heavy Mental,” he said, “Hold up — is Clancy based on the woman in the Dresden Dolls? The gothy one with the eyebrows? Her last name is Palmer, too.”
Actually, Clancy is as far away from Amanda Palmer as you could get. Sure, Clancy is a musician, but, unlike Amanda Palmer, she does not seek out attention. Technically, Wayne is the frontperson from the Marquee Idols. He’s the singer, and he’s front and center, with Clancy on guitar on one side, Muriel on bass on the other, and Shane drumming away in the back. Amanda Palmer is never off to the side in anything. She is so front-and-center with what she does that her name may as well be in all-caps: AMANDA PALMER.
For the record, I don’t have a beef with Amanda Palmer. She’s not the first person in the world to get herself in the news by being blunt or offending people. That said, I decided to change Clancy’s last name, stat. Even if Amanda Palmer never generated a controversy in her life, connotation matters, Clancy Parker’s style, worldview and eyebrows are different from Amanda Palmer’s. If someone picked up “Heavy Mental,” thinking they were going to read fan fiction about Amanda Palmer as a detective,* they would be sorely disappointed.
This concludes our talk. I say Amanda Palmer “yay,” but she is not in any way related to the heroine of my fiction. What do you think, dear reader?
*–That said, a book starring Amanda Palmer as a detective would probably be fantastic, and perhaps Amanda Palmer herself is working on that book right this second. If so, good for her!