Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Roxanne Revisited

In high school my friends and I all thought that we were outre' fashionistas. You know, the kind of students who thought they were too cool for the place they lived, which for us was South Louisiana. Instead of embracing the Creole and Cajun culture surrounding us, we were much more interested in what was happening on the pages of Vogue magazine and in the streets of New York City. We dressed differently, drank hot tea in the afternoon, shopped at thrift stores, befriended the foreign students at the local University and listened to decidedly "Not Top 40" Music. Everything we did had to have the requisite flair--even our writing. So it was that we all chose pen names: names like Sadie Midnight, Calista Kreegan (before Calista Flockhart was even a star), and my name--Roxanne Dubier.

I loved The Police, so Roxanne was a no-brainer and the last name sounded French and fancy. So, I signed all of my overly sentimental poetry and unended short stories with a flourished Roxanne Dubier. I even made a poster of my signature and hung it on the ceiling of my bedroom above my bed. My own name was a gutteral German moniker, one that no one had heard of--but Roxanne was simple, yet mysterious. I was able to shed my identity, one that included being Black and White, specifically German--not a known quantity in my hometown--and become someone else, someone cool and sophisticated.

Flash-forward to 1998 when I took my then fiance', now husband to visit my family in Louisiana. After all the hellos and nibbles of boudin (you simply must try it) and nips of liqueurs (my mom always has a nip) we dragged our plane-tired bodies to my childhood bedroom, laid us each down on a twin bed and breathed a harmonious sigh of relaxation. Well, Idid anyway, my beau instead started laughing and pointing up to the ceiling. While I had never told him the story of Roxanne, he knew me enough from my still-present need for flair and flourish, that this must have something to do with an imagined identity. Yes, Jefe', I gave myself a pen-name, and yes, it sounds fake-fancy and fake-French. Even better, Jefe', after 25 years of leaving Roxanne behind, I'm resurrecting her for this blog. So, if you like fashion, literature, motherhood, teaching, clashes of cultures and fancy flair, then SURPRISE! You've entered the realm of Roxanne Revisited!

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