renewable dreams: changing names, moving forward

I’ve tried to start this post five times with something quirky or flippant and it just doesn’t work, so let’s go with tried-and-true “just the facts, fam.”

I’m changing my writing name officially to Merc Fenn Wolfmoor.

Hi, it’s nice to (re)meet you. ^-^

“Well, this is sudden!” you might say to yourself.

“Not really!” I reply, potentially startling you if you thought you were speaking to the void. (The void and I are friends, don’t worry.)

Here is a long and somewhat detailed post about the whole process.

The above link also shows off the new website, which is still a work-in-progress, but I have imported all the blog posts from here, and shortly I will have this url re-direct to the new one:


Inevitably people will wonder, “Why did you choose this name? What does Merc Fenn Wolfmoor mean?”

Let’s break it down!

Merc = me. It’s not officially short for anything, though it can mean mercenary, mercury, or merc-needs-more-sleep-but-they-are-unlikely-to-get-it.

Fenn = a name varient of the word “fen,” which is a type of wetlands. I grew up around swamps. My childhood home is several acres of swampy land, ponds, woodlands, forgotten cornfields, and wild grape vines. Wetlands are embedded in my brain: the acrid smell of still waters painted with algae, long brown grass that sways and crunches underfoot, the sucking pull of mud at your shoe, the glimpse of gray herons or egrets in the nearby pond, the cattails bursting with seeds, the red lure of sumac berries, the prickle of burrs on your socks, the distant calling of owls and loons. The land rolls and shifts, hillocks and valleys, an expanse of snow in winter and nets of mosquitoes in summer. You can find agates on the dirt roads around the swamps; you have to watch out for old barbed-wired fences long reclaimed by the soil and weeds; there are hidden groves of thorns and raspberry bushes tucked away beside oak and birch trees bordering the lake; listen to the coyotes yowl at dusk, and watch the bats zip overhead, flecks of night incarnate.

I’ve always loved the lands I grew up around, but let’s be honest… “Swamp” is best left as a name to the Thing. I’ll stick with Fenn.

Wolfmoor = I love both these things separately; together, they form a name that felt right to me. Also, the entire shift from R to W in the alphabet helps distinguish this from my former writing name. Some of the etymology of words ties back to my Scandinavian and German ancestry, too, which to me is cool.

You know what else is super awesome about this set of words that I have claimed as mine? All gender-neutral!

(My pronouns remain they/them/their; I’m still non-binary. All that is changing is the name on the tin, so to speak.)

And yes, as always, “Merc” is the name I use and respond to; Fenn is a middle name; Wolfmoor is a surname. So while I will use all three in bylines and formal introductions, whether online or in person you can just call me Merc.


In the short term, I realize there may be confusion as I transfer various social media handles, sites, pages and emails to the new name.

“What if I forget and mess it up?” you may ask.

“Please try not to worry about it or beat yourself up,” I tell you. “It’s okay. This is a process; and, unlike pronouns, I will not be bothered if you mix up my names in this regard! ❤ I’m leaving things in print and ebook with the old name [A. Merc Rustad], and will simply re-direct people to the new name as needed. It’s pretty transparent in who I am: I’m not hiding anything, and I’m also chill, I promise.”

“Really?” you ask.

“Really,” I say.

I beam at you, because I’m so happy you’re here, and also because I love my new name and am fricking delighted to share it with you.


In long-term, I hope it will mean more writing (because this is taking pressure off my brain to censor myself due to a surname I share with family), more stories for you to read (because I will be writing more), and more happiness all around (yay!).

Win-win-win. ^-^

Now, let’s see what we can create in this bright, open future.

—Merc Fenn Wolfmoor

4 thoughts on “renewable dreams: changing names, moving forward

  1. Congratulations on finding your name! It sounds like a good fit for you, and I look forward to seeing it attached to your stories, interviews, con badges, etc.

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