On Pen Names

As we were preparing to create this blog, we spent a lot of time on the question of what to call it. Names are a big deal — defining, as it were — and we wanted to get it right. We wanted something that would convey the best of the South, with its multiple facets, as well as New York. And, this being a joint endeavor, we wanted something that would reflect our partnership: a dynamic duo linked by an ampersand.

There were a lot of contenders — Moonshine Lullaby, Southern Gotham, and Bergeron & McCoy to name a few — but eventually we settled on Zelda and Scout, in honor of two Southern ladies we love, one real and one fictional. To us, Zelda and Scout represent two sides of the South, both near and dear to our hearts. Zelda is the belle of the ball, an opinionated firecracker always out for a good time who is unafraid to speak her mind. She is cosmopolitan, full of sass, and spunky as all get out. Zelda Fitzgerald herself was also a New York transplant, moving to the Big Apple with her husband F. Scott in the heart of the Jazz Age, which we thought was particularly appropriate. Scout, on the other hand, is a tomboy: unpretentious, down home, true to her roots, but no less fierce in her convictions than Zelda. She is deeply invested in her heritage, both personal and cultural, and in the communities she is a part of.

Both women represent a loyalty and pride of place that we find inherent to the South; friends from Connecticut or Ohio never seem to have strong affinities for their hometowns, but get a Southerner started about their particular homestead and they’ll talk your ear off (just ask us about Louisville). They are juxtaposed and yet in many ways very similar: dynamic, vivacious, independent, defiant of social conventions, and each with a clear voice.

All of us have a bit of Zelda and a bit of Scout in us. Like any person, or region, they are multi-faceted and not easily pinned down. In our choice of pen names, we do not seek to limit or define ourselves and our stories. We are not these women. But in picking up their names and carrying them for a while, we hope to imagine them complexly and to honor the things that make them great.


Zelda and Scout are Jennifer Harlan and Kelsey Goldman. Two Louisville, Kentucky gals who now call Brooklyn home, they love bourbon, horse racing, New York in the fall, and kitchen dance parties.


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