Occasionally, someone will ask how I came up with The Pajama Diaries charactersâ€™ names. The characters were named very intentionally. First and foremost, I wanted short, quick names that donâ€™t take up much space because, if you havenâ€™t noticed, the strip can get texty. The only exception to this rule is â€œPerfectville.â€ Here are the brief explanations behind the rest:
Jill is my middle name. Itâ€™s short and punchy, like me. Itâ€™s more anonymous and less androgynous than Terri. And it still allows some association to seep through.
Rob is a nice, short name that has no real ties to anything. I couldâ€™ve used my husbandâ€™s perfectly fine middle name, Aaron, but in my opinion it doesnâ€™t exactly roll off the tongue. Just sayin.â€™
Amy is named after my closest friend. We grew up blocks from each other and unfortunately live far apart now. This is my way of paying tribute to our longtime friendship. Originally, I couldâ€™ve named the character â€œSamanthaâ€ (my older daughterâ€™s middle name), but I think we see the obvious problem. And a shorter â€œSamâ€ wouldâ€™ve been confusing, gender-wise. Especially in the early years when the character looked like a boy in drag.
Jess is simply my younger daughterâ€™s shortened middle name, Jessica.
Lisa and Nanci are completely made up. â€œLisaâ€ is pretty common for my generation. â€œNanciâ€ is a slight nod at my older daughter, whose name is also spelled unconventionally.
Kaplan is the familyâ€™s surname. I like it because itâ€™s obviously Jewish, but not overly stereotypical. I have a few friends with the last name, Kaplan, so it has a nice connotation.
Little-known fact: Jillâ€™s maiden name is â€œDavidodavitzâ€ (a takeoff on my husbandâ€™s old family name, â€œDavidowitzâ€). I originally came up with it for a comic strip gag, but Iâ€™ll be re-introducing it down the road (the above panel is a sneak peak).
So thatâ€™s it in a nutshell. One funny little tidbit: â€œMikeâ€ was the main characterâ€™s name of an old comic strip I used to write. It also happens to be my husbandâ€™s name. I wrote the strip before I met him (insert eerie music here). Yeah, yeah, okay, but I think itâ€™s uncanny.