Hello world. My name is Kim. Kimberly Grace McInnis, as I was named on a foggy night in Windsor, Ontario, 28 years ago.
Here are a few other names I’ve had.
When I was five years old, I liked to be called Cynthia (or Sinthia, as I spelled it before I knew much about the sonic peculiarities of language). I had a strange fondness for lots of /s/ words. Cynthia was also the name of a woman who sang in my church choir. She had white hair and I liked how it glowed like an angel’s halo in the light of the sanctuary. I thought the name Cynthia sounded ethereal and sophisticated; and so, that was who I chose to be when I played with my first friends, most of whom were imaginary.
When I was eleven, I invented a parallel universe of my elementary school called Seacliff Junior High, and an alias named Andrea, after the lead singer in Irish pop band The Corrs. I wasn’t creative enough to cook up other characters from scratch, so I spun my real friends into rhapsodized versions: Sherri, Ariel, Oz, and Lee. Daydreams where I was cooler and wittier manifested as two Seacliff novels, written in 200-page spiral bound notebooks and smudged with fingerprints from being passed around my grade six classroom.
At around fourteen, I discovered the wonderful world of internet forums. I took on the moniker Kimmery, because a boy I liked teased me with it when we worked on a project together. As Kimmery I was bouncy, hopping between hobbies and around a Dance Dance Revolution pad for hours on end. I half-started stories, half-finished songs, and half-learned three instruments. I fell in love with the idea of falling in love. It was as emotionally exhausting as it was physically, naturally. It was being a teenager.
When I started college, I renamed myself Kimberly Grace, in effort to inject more elegance to my persona. I was studying opera, after all. I fell in love, with a boy and the idea that all my dreams could come true if I worked hard and waited. I auditioned for musicals, indie films, and any contract work that would grant my sleeves respite from the murderous pasta stains they suffered serving weddings every weekend. Some parts I got, lots I didn’t. I learned how to have my heart broken and piece it back together again in the practice room.
When it seemed like my heavy metal band might take off, I had a short stint as Kim McMetal, because I wanted a small measure of privacy from my frighteningly devoted online fans. Stampeding guitars and sneering sawtooth synths drowned out the tinkling piano and silken strings of my soprano past. I fell in love, with a boy and the idea that all my dreams could come true if I worked hard and took charge. I jumped ship on my day job and dove into the murky waters of “funemployment”. I honed an icy business acumen that could make even my accountant parents shiver. I learned how to break hearts and walk away with white hands, no more than a nick from the shards.
Among and between these proper nouns, there are a slew of common ones. A daughter and a sister. A genius and a nerd. A drama queen and a liar. A control freak, a shark, or a witch. All of them true, by drifting degrees.
With all these names, you may wonder why I’ve decided to add another one to the list.
Beyond any of its definitions, Maverick has a nice taste in my mouth. The /m/ feels smooth and pensive, like the uncertain way you stall when collecting your thoughts, or how you might hum to keep yourself company. Ending with /k/ is playful and wry, like a half-hearted laugh.
I’m not an especially big fan of westerns, I don’t follow basketball, and I’ve never seen Top Gun. But I like that if I tilt my head and soften my gaze, I can see “maven” and “trick” hiding in the middle of the word; maybe “avarice” too, although that’s a bigger stretch. Of course, there’s the paradox of choosing a name that means unbranded.
Now you know the who, and the why. What’s the what?
Kim Maverick is an experiment. It’s my first foray into the wilderness as a solo artist. Mixing mediums of memory and myth across a canvas of silence. A vanity project by the girl so vain she still thinks the song is about her, even though she’s usually the one singing it.
For once, I don’t have any agenda for how this adventure will go. Instead of squinting at walls, trying to make sense of mystical scribbles and following their shadowy script, I’m letting my torch go out. Maybe absolute darkness is what I need to catch a glimmer of sunlight and escape the cave, once and for all.
Hopefully it will be a story I enjoy sharing as much as writing. KM