I changed my name to Faun when I was 19. I became enamored with Findhorn, Pan, elemental spirits, earth creatures, and decided that my natural nature was as a Puck kind of character, a trickster, drinking wine, seducing girls, at home in nature and luring children away with a panflute. The only problem was that whenever I told anyone that my name was Faun, they heard Fawn. My family and especially my brother decided it was Fawn, like a girl named after a deer. Like Bambi. In fact, even now that he is dead, his daughter who is 19 was making fun of me, saying that I changed my name to Fawn, because I had big brown eyes, like a baby deer. My wife laughed and agreed also. It was so totally humiliating. No one really seemed to appreciate the difference between an elemental character like a follower of the great god Pan, or a baby deer like Bambi. This confusion was so promoted by my late brother that just before he passed away, he phoned me from the apartment of a NY friend of his – I had not heard from him in 20 years. I said ‘hello’ and he said (with more than a touch of ridicule) “Hello Faun!” He then said: ” I win that one!” with great relish. I didn’t really remember him that well, or that we were in some kind of contest at this point, or ever. But I guess he won.
Ironically, one of my major adult accomplishments was the luring away of children with a pan flute, first as a successful early childhood music teacher, then as the leader of The Sippy Cups. The discussion with my wife came around to the her point that I had chosen to be a follower, a faun, not for instance changing my name to Bacchus, the great God of wine, ecstasy and excess and Burning Man. While I’ve certainly been a leader at various times of my life, in this case and at the time when I was 19, I certainly didn’t feel like THE God of ecstasy, much more like one of his happy little followers.
I was exploring this mythos in a talk therapy session recently when my therapist brought up Peter Pan. “Why yes, I replied, you’re right, Peter Pan is a good example of this type. He flies, he doesn’t want to grow up, he lures children away in the night, girls like him.” “And of course, there’s Hook . . .” he replied. I suddenly flashed on Todd, the beard, the great sweeping hats, the broadsword swinging from his belt, the chains and flashing objects all about his costume, the gold teeth (okay maybe not gold teeth). But really, check it, he was Captain Hook! Jealous of the cocky young Peter, haunted by crocodiles, blustering, threatening, boasting and deeply insecure. Barry described him as ‘cadaverous’ and ‘blackavized.’ Todd and I had unwittingly reiterated these story-types, these archetypes. And we were secretly rivals it seems. Todd openly admitted his envy of my life and accomplishments from time to time and I had grown up in the shadow of his great energy, social success, comic genius, charisma and outrageousness. Also, there was just a pure competition for space in the room – who would dominate with stories, jokes, conversation, etc. I usually left the contest to him, contented to listen, enjoy, escape, play music, record. But to be fair, I don’t think Todd wanted me and mine to walk the plank, as Hook so desires for Pan and the Lost Boys. Todd, and maybe Hook, just wanted friendship. And like Hook, when his bluster and swords were too repellent and friendship wasn’t in the offing, he would dig deeper into the negative attention cycle and I would further retreat.
The subject is far from exhausted but should be enough to ponder for a sunny Sunday morning. To be continued. . .