You Can Call Me Anything, But

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It’s a term of respect around here apparently. I’m fine with children calling me Tannie (that’s Aunty in Afrikaans), but I object to anyone who is already grown up aiming that moniker at me. Unless I am their actual aunty. Apart from the fact that writers are ageless—that comes with the territory—there is something deeply insulting being called Tannie by anyone with more wrinkles than me.

Any time anyone over forty says Hello Tannie to me they’re unwittingly heading onto dangerous ground. It will instantly jar me from my semi-permanent mental state of communing with those fabulous folk who populate my books, and elicit a malignant stare, at the very least. I tend to want to inform these elderly but apparently younger than me people of our distinct lack of similar DNA. So far I’ve (mostly) managed to control myself, but it has had me peering in the mirror and wondering what it is about my looks these days that makes me come over as venerable enough to be considered their Tannie. Should I be swopping my denim shorts and purple toenail varnish for a purple hair rinse and twin set jerseys?

Nope. I’ll just do what I do and put it in a book. My very interesting journey of the past couple of years hasn’t left me much time for personal writing, but when the urge does hit too strongly to be ignored I’ve been zooming off to bang out a paragraph or two of my “interesting journey” inspired new fiction book, Mopani Mansions. Even though quite a bit of this trip has been painful or fearful to the max, it’s also taught me to fear less, learn from pain rather than wallow in it, and it’s inspired my weird writerly mind and sense of humour rather than squashed it.

The whacky, weird, precious, or just plain wonderful people who have come into my life in one way or another lately have mostly found themselves arriving in Mopani Mansions, and now of course we will have the coolest, sexiest, and most fabulous Tannie there too. She will be allowed to do all of those terrible things that occurred to me to do every time any aged and arthritic fellow had the temerity to assume I would be honoured to be called Aunty.

I have a couple of launches for my fabulous author clients coming first, but around June this year I’ll be letting Mopani Mansions loose on the world, and also my long ago finished but yet to be edited non-fiction work about living, dying, reality, and all the bits in between. That’s the fabulousness of being a scribbler. You can’t keep us down, and we NEVER get old, no matter how many times we get called Tannie. We can be unicorns forever, and so we will be in our worlds.

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21 thoughts on “You Can Call Me Anything, But

    floridaborne said:
    March 18, 2018 at 10:33 am

    Uh-Oh. Am I going to be in someone else’s book, too? 🙂

    Some days you have to write it all out in a book and laugh about it.

    Liked by 2 people

    jenanita01 said:
    March 18, 2018 at 11:11 am

    I have cared for a lot of children in my time, and every one of them called me ‘JJ’. Those days are gone, but I still get called ‘JJ’ by people I hardly know. I have tried to be patient, but sometimes it sets my teeth on edge. After all, it is a little insulting that they either don’t know my name, or choose not to use it!
    My mother used to tell people that they could call me anything, but never call me too late for dinner. I never liked that either…

    Liked by 1 person

    Carol said:
    March 18, 2018 at 11:12 am

    I sympathise Jo…Some ( quite) a few..enough to aggravate me call me dear or my dear which is worse as I am no ones ” dear” and soon…very soon some poor unsuspecting soul will get the sharp end…will I write about them? I just might!

    Liked by 1 person

    acflory said:
    March 18, 2018 at 12:05 pm

    At 65 I don’t mind being a ‘néni’ [Hungarian] or just Auntie to the kids in the extended family, even if some of them are pushing 40! For us it seems to be a sign of respect so it’s not so bad. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    The Story Reading Ape said:
    March 18, 2018 at 2:03 pm

    Reblogged this on Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog and commented:
    Pay Attention at the back – This information could save your sanity…

    Liked by 1 person

    The Owl Lady said:
    March 18, 2018 at 2:22 pm

    Reblogged this on Viv Drewa – The Owl Lady.

    Liked by 1 person

    olganm said:
    March 18, 2018 at 2:39 pm

    I have no brother or sisters, so no real nieces and nephews, but have become auntie to the children of quite a few of my friends (although they are not children any longer). Now I’m auntie to three dogs too… Not too bothered as the dogs don’t talk… Your new books sounds great. Looking forward to it, Jo and nice to see you around!

    Liked by 1 person

    danniehill said:
    March 18, 2018 at 3:01 pm

    Well said, Jo. While living in Thailand I enjoyed being called, Luung, Uncle. rather than grandfather or Farange, white man. I look forward your your next book!

    Liked by 1 person

    Lucinda E Clarke said:
    March 18, 2018 at 3:01 pm

    They called me Tannie when I was still in my 40’s! Another writer who writes about Africa great! Am following you now. 🙂 And Mopani worms are really nice to eat as long as they have been well cooked.

    Like

    patriciaruthsusan said:
    March 18, 2018 at 4:46 pm

    I know what you mean, Jo. The word here often in English is “Auntie”. At age 76, I don’t care who calls me Auntie anymore. I did see a man who was probably in his middle to late 30’s get upset when a young pretty woman called him “Uncle”. 😀 — Suzanne

    Like

    Cynthia Reyes said:
    March 18, 2018 at 7:34 pm

    Thanks for the warning! I was just about to call you “Tannie”. Tee hee… Seriously though, congrats on your creations and I look forward to reading them.

    Like

    Colline said:
    March 18, 2018 at 8:32 pm

    It is a sign of respect though. And maybe a bit of a habit?

    Like

    Tina Frisco said:
    March 18, 2018 at 9:53 pm

    The only name I’ve ever been called that curls my toes is one I’m loath to give here! So I know the feeling, Jo. Wishing you all the best with Mopani Mansions. Will look forward to it ❤

    Like

    gillswriting said:
    March 19, 2018 at 10:04 am

    Hello Jo, how lovely to have you pop back into my “life”! Loved this and hey ho, my time in Tanzania forever branded me Bibi (Granny) and as strange as it was to get used to and accept it as the mark of absolute respect, as it was intended, it is in the top ten list of things I miss!

    Like

    coldhandboyack said:
    March 19, 2018 at 3:08 pm

    Love the title of your book. I still have my African adventure plot buried somewhere. Maybe I’ll dig it out in the next few years.

    Like

    aurorajeanalexander said:
    March 20, 2018 at 10:35 pm

    I know how it is to be called something I’m not. And “Aunty” isn’t even the worst. LOL I love this post and I can’t wait for your book Jo!

    Like

    literaryeyes said:
    March 25, 2018 at 7:33 pm

    Years ago some people called me “Sister” or crossed themselves when they passed me. They thought I was a nun or the minister. I lived at the church and ran the poetry program and was sexton. I told a friend and he said, Let them call you that. They mean respect. I don’t know if that’s what’s going o with you, but I like to think so. Looking forward to your ext book!

    Like

    Rivka said:
    April 25, 2018 at 9:10 pm

    I want to be a unicorn forever! Oh, wait. I am. 🦄

    Like

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