books

Fantasy or fantastic, 13 reasons to use a pseudonym….or not.

I appreciate the questions the “Opinionated Man” puts forth on his blog, and the latest one rang for me. During the course of the comment I was writing on his article, I decided to address it here for myself, as I made a choice on the issue recently to reveal myself online. Well, I didn’t take my pants down…..again, but I did decide to own my pen name, as it was wearing on me to constantly feel that I needed to hide it.
The comment:
Pro pseudonym:
1. Privacy. 2. The work potentially proves it’s worth alone. 3. You won’t have to be praised to your face. 4. Mysterious is sexy and breeds curiosity. 5. If your book is hot enough, your wife won’t have to deal with women banging on the door trying to get a lay with a rock star. 6. You won’t have to go on book tour. 7. Giving the profits to a worthy cause anonymously will be easier. 8. Your kids won’t have to defend it with fisticuffs at school. 9. I’m looking into it myself. 10. Sometimes I think a potential mate would rather know me in person, and some of my best friends don’t read my writing, which could be so they don’t have to prematurely know what I’m thinking about. 11. Writing is lonely, and your wife misses you, so maybe an alternate identity would allow you to close the office door when your with her so she can spend time with the guy she married instead of the “ten foot online awesome one” she gets to share with the world, because he writes. 12. The fan mail for you will go to another address, and you can revel in your accomplishment without her feeling like she’s not as cool as you are. 13. Fame is fun like “the best moments owning a boat: buying it, and selling it.” Hmmm, I might be on her side.

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Then again…
Pro True Name
1. Your writing could have more weight with people’s judgement of how honest it is if you own it. 2. Accountability and accepting responsibility for what your writing does in the world, may give it more value to you? 3. You like being a recluse, and she thinks it’s hot. 4. It’s easier to maintain motivation as a writer when you get positive feedback, and the best forms of that are emulation, or directly from people you care about. 5. It will be easier to convince the guys at the barbecue that you’re a bread-winner, if you can show them the paper. 6. Hiding an identity makes real life conversation uncomfortable and leads to people being suspicious of you. 7. You get to go on book tour. 8. The women banging on your door could help your wife know that your worth her effort to love you. 9. Dressing up in costumes to avoid recognition can be fun for the whole family, it’s like Halloween all year, and a brand new car every week is reliable transportation. 10. You may have to move to a small town in the country, and take your wife to the city for culture exposure when she needs a dose of dancing. Poor you, it’s pretty in the country. 11. It’ll be easier to get respect at writing conferences, and the feedback can come through your ears instead of just your sneaky eyes. 12. You won’t have to worry about hiding who you are to people who might accidentally reveal your pseudonym(or intentionally in spite). 13. People in your life that have an opinion that matters to you, may be more encouraging of your lifestyle if they value what you make, and if they get the chance to read it…..

It’s an interesting paradigm. I imagine it’s different for writers that have accrued financial success or notoriety. It’s probably different for every writer regardless. For those of us down here in the “I’m broke as shit and haven’t got a thing to show for my writing but satisfaction and something to share that I think has value”, putting our name on it may be the only thing we can do to justify our efforts to the people around us.

Every time I share my blog addresses, and wish to give somebody a way to accept my apparently to them, crazy lifestyle, it’s a mixed bag of tricks. Do I think the writing is good enough? What about the presentation? Do they really want to know that much about me? Are they even going to read it? Is it going to change our relationship? Do I want that?

I’m weary of the comment that people are envious of how I live my life. Frankly, that comment sucks. Being self-employed is neither easy or fun unless it’s done right, and after over twenty years of it, I’m still figuring out what that looks like for me.

It gives me the feeling that they have no idea how stressful “freedom”, or the lack of a stable career path or employment is. Right now I’m staying with Family, and while that is wonderful for a myriad of reasons, it’s not particularly conductive to pride. Envy me not for the things I have to humble myself to accept on the path to emerge as a writer, in fact, don’t waste your time with envy at all.

Searching for the quote, “don’t write unless you have to”, brought me to a great article on emerging writers. As a student of the trade, I’m enjoying jumping out of the closet, publishing wildly, and spending less time on doubt. It was rewarding to read about what a more balanced process would look like, and reflecting on how I’m failing myself in some basic publishing stress reduction techniques.

Trial by fire has always thrilled me more. Like the idea of begging for forgiveness vs. asking for permission. My struggle as a writer is that I don’t really want to wait. I get satisfaction by hitting the publish button on something I want to share. Unfortunately the economy doesn’t work that way though, and I’d like to have my writing be self-sustaining, so I’m studying what the other side of the coin looks like.

Maybe if I looked at my blogging as sharpening the knife. Cutting with a dull knife is stupid, as it takes longer, your more likely to slip, and when you do the potential injury will take longer to heal, as the cut is ragged. The analogy works well to describe the process Lauren’s article painted. Her advice was take your time, or “think slow”, which to me is sound…but doesn’t come natural, or feel fun.

So writing here is fun, and I’ll be working up to a more formalized approach in the land of what I like to call Chrysalis Draft Craft. I spit this one out. I hope it was palatable, and if it wasn’t, feel free to follow the links, as the two writers I referenced make words fit well.

To my glee, I devoured a non-fiction

I’ve had a love hate relationship with lists for years. They are a good tool, and like the table saw that kicked a piece of plywood into my gut the other day, are easy to misuse.

Make a list, write make a list at the top, and check it, or cross it off.   Then proceed further, with caution.

It’s easy to overdo by writing out details for days, and the lists on my walls foretell the story of my life’s work. What I will build, where I will go, and how did I go wrong? What could I have done differently? When did the first transgression occur? Was it petty? Why was it serious?

With a well developed list, a decision presents itself to me. I trust that my emotions will play on my choices in irregular and radical ways, so a list helps to ground them in rational logic. It’s easier to be confident when the next step is already decided, and my actions become a hopeful pursuit of change.

Difficulty arises when the groups of lists add up, bringing me an overwhelming sense of ambitious planning. Love for spontaneity, possibility, and variety tends to railroad my best laid plans into regretted things I haven’t done.

The book is titled The Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande. Titillating stories mix into a fascinating tale of a surgeon and his worldwide pursuit, to develop a basic life saving checklist. The last few pages are the meat if your a skip to the end for the answers person.  The three stages listed are “Development, Drafting, and Validation.” Asking questions like, “Does it fit on one page?”

A whole new way of relating to my lists has occurred from reading this book. I recognize where I’ve blundered in the past, and now I see a way to change the pattern.  Inevitably I’ll fail tremendously again, and find myself upside down in a bubble surrounded by mirrors, but I can always understand it with a list.

If fiction is your preference, read Cutting for Stone.  It’s a real page turning heart puller and is an inspiration for my pursuit of teaching empathy as an effective medicine.  The concept I use from the book as a category on this blog is “Medicine for the Ears”, so if you want to read more of my thoughts on that click on the category, or the above link to a short article I wrote on my love for this book.

So I’m setting out on a path to rectify the lists in my head, on the walls, in the notebooks, pages in folders, and maybe I’ll just finish the one I’m working on now….and look wildly forward to writing the next one.

Check, Check, % bar mark, Check, Check, black out and never do, Check, Check, % bar mark, sauna, eat, work play harder, Check, Check, Check.

Thank you for reading all the way through.  I appreciate your attention, and will intend to place bright shining examples of free thought where you kept your less desirable TV memories.   Good luck with accomplishing your lists.

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Heal-All, Self-Heal, and Allheal

Since I’m on the subject of medicine for the evening, I wish to share a couple of my faiths. In searching for the refrences to provide you with pictures I came upon this, which represents my idea of awesome in a nut shell: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Panacea_(medicine)

Reading a book on Pacific Northwest Medicinal Plants, I came upon an herb that was anti-tumor, and so many other things, I just had to find it. Since then, I find it everywhere. Mountainside to valley floor, ocean shore, to outside my back door, in the front lawn, in the back, I love this minty herb. The variety that grows around here may be consumed from flower petal tip to root hair. It grows from three to twelve inches tall (I have seen some spectacular specimens that exceed this height, but on average it’s true), creeps along the ground for the first few inches, and sprouts upwards from there. It has purple flowers, looks kind of like a fat pennyroyal(also in the mint family), and has a stem just like all the other mints; boxy prism like: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prunella_(plant)

This one is the more broad versions of the plant, which will help to narrow the search for a Panacea, after you try all the varieties, that grow everywhere, over your lifetime, of searching for the right one, when maybe any one will suffice to transmutate common metal to gold, give you the philosophers stone, or the key to the elixir of life. Then again that’s just me being contrary, because I love the variety that grows all over here in lawns, and probably won’t take the time to look further:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stachys

Propolis has been my friend for several years. The first time I heard about it, I had recieved a five gallon bucket across my face for putting out a campfire (another story), and my friend mentioned how it would fix my teeth. O it fixed it all right. About as good as walking around with a mouthfull of black teeth that taste like clove oil will. Seriously though, put the clove oil on your gum if your tooth hurts, don’t get it on your tongue, and put the propolis on the source of the pain to seal it up from exposure to heat and cold. I waited for a week to go to the dentist, and my brain wasn’t screaming that one of my teeth had been knocked out.

Ever since I started working with a bee keeper, moving bees, selling honey, building hives, and so on, I have heard of little else when it comes to needs met. He puts the stuff in a mixture of everclear alchohol, turning it into a tincture, and puts a couple of droplets on any ailment. I started carrying it around in my first aid kit thanks to him. Minor cuts no longer need an band-aid if I have propolis, the band-aids would fall off inside my sweaty gloves anyways, the cut would stay wet, and my finger wouldn’t smell like vodka honey. I put it on cavities when the sugar junkie in me, gets carried away:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Propolis

I’m gonna go take a dropper-full of propolis, just to feel accountable to my body.

These are some additional posts on the healing arts, thanks for reading!

Heal-All, Self-Heal, and Allheal

Since I’m on the subject of medicine for the evening, I wish to share a couple of my faiths. In searching for the refrences to provide you with pictures I came upon this, which represents my idea of awesome in a nut shell: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Panacea_(medicine)

Reading a book on Pacific Northwest Medicinal Plants, I came upon an herb that was anti-tumor, and so many other things, I just had to find it. Since then, I find it everywhere. Mountainside to valley floor, ocean shore, to outside my back door, in the front lawn, in the back, I love this minty herb. The variety that grows around here may be consumed from flower petal tip to root hair. It grows from three to twelve inches tall (I have seen some spectacular specimens that exceed this height, but on average it’s true), creeps along the ground for the first few inches, and sprouts upwards from there. It has purple flowers, looks kind of like a fat pennyroyal(also in the mint family), and has a stem just like all the other mints; boxy prism like: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prunella_(plant)

This one is the more broad versions of the plant, which will help to narrow the search for a Panacea, after you try all the varieties, that grow everywhere, over your lifetime, of searching for the right one, when maybe any one will suffice to transmutate common metal to gold, give you the philosophers stone, or the key to the elixir of life. Then again that’s just me being contrary, because I love the variety that grows all over here in lawns, and probably won’t take the time to look further:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stachys

Propolis has been my friend for several years. The first time I heard about it, I had recieved a five gallon bucket across my face for putting out a campfire (another story), and my friend mentioned how it would fix my teeth. O it fixed it all right. About as good as walking around with a mouthfull of black teeth that taste like clove oil will. Seriously though, put the clove oil on your gum if your tooth hurts, don’t get it on your tongue, and put the propolis on the source of the pain to seal it up from exposure to heat and cold. I waited for a week to go to the dentist, and my brain wasn’t screaming that one of my teeth had been knocked out.

Ever since I started working with a bee keeper, moving bees, selling honey, building hives, and so on, I have heard of little else when it comes to needs met. He puts the stuff in a mixture of everclear alchohol, turning it into a tincture, and puts a couple of droplets on any ailment. I started carrying it around in my first aid kit thanks to him. Minor cuts no longer need an band-aid if I have propolis, the band-aids would fall off inside my sweaty gloves anyways, the cut would stay wet, and my finger wouldn’t smell like vodka honey. I put it on cavities when the sugar junkie in me, gets carried away:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Propolis

I’m gonna go take a dropper-full of propolis, just to feel accountable to my body.

These are some additional posts on the healing arts, thanks for reading!