Sunday, December 16, 2007

Honest Lies, True Fiction.

As usual, I’m the last one on the train. Have you ever read Heather Armstrong’s blog? It’s big. BIG. Her entire family lives off the ads, it’s that big. I wonder if, in part, it’s due to brave, honest posts like this one?

Kids sometimes make things easy. It’s hard to do something for yourself, but when kids are involved, it’s so easy to shut things down and take a hard line, for their sake.

It’s very easy for me to (outside of a few lapses) to not mention my pseudonym for their sake. I know that some day, if real name ever gets published, a few will connect it, and you know how the internet is. I’m not really that worried about that, because that’s just the way I am. I do what I can and do my best for what I think is right, and if things go wrong, c’est la vie.

As usual, Erica brought all this thinking up.

But would I have taken a pseudonym if my publisher had given me a choice? Definitely. How about if things were different, if things were safer on the internet and stuff?

I don’t know. I have such mixed feelings about it, because I hate secrets. I’m one of those people who think and stuff comes out of my mouth, unfiltered. I want to talk about everything, irregardless (sadly) of whether or not the rest of the world wants to hear about it.

I could say I’d have used my real name and sound much braver than I am. I could even think that I would, but I couldn’t really know unless I’d been given the choice. I do think I would have today, but I doubt my younger self would have. She was too young and confused.

I know there’s stuff I’ve written under my pseudonym that I never would have written if I wasn’t writing under a pseudonym. Some traumatic events in my life have made it into my stories. Sure, a little altered, a little changed, tweaked, and modified, but the people who know my history would recognize them.

It’s also easy because it just wouldn’t do for me to talk about writing on her blog. My readers wouldn’t be interested. It would probably spoil the man-behind-the-curtain magic, you know? And no writers, that I know of, read my pseudonym’s blog.

As if crafting a story would take some of the heart out of it, you know?

I know my readers assume that some of my stuff might be true. Sometimes it is. I don’t mind, because it’s always true in some way. If it’s not who I am or what I’ve done, it’s what I would have done if I were my character in that situation.

I guess, to me, that’s close enough. (Disclaimer: they don’t ask, but if they did, I’d tell them the truth.) It’s more that I just get the feeling they’re thinking that from the words between the words, or even the words themselves.

It’s probably very weird for me to think that’s close enough. But the characters become a part of me, or they were a part of me that came out, or something.

If anything, my character’s feelings are what I felt, writing them.

As writers, I think we feel things deeply. I can put a character through an experience, and feel it so deeply, live it so much in their shoes, that it hardly makes a difference whether it’s the character or myself that has lived that experience.

Of course it makes a difference, but at the same time--if I’ve done my job right, it shouldn’t. If I’ve done my job right, I’ve felt it so real in my mind and heart, that it feels a part of me and my experience, all the same.

(Am I starting to sound crazy? Must I put in a disclaimer that insists I do know the difference between my reality and my fiction? I’m just thinking out loud.)

What do you think?

4 bonus scribbles:

spyscribbler 12/16/2007 01:21:00 PM  

Regardless, I mean. There is no such word as irregardless, is there?

Oh, whatever. :-)

J.K. Mahal 12/16/2007 02:55:00 PM  

I think if writing under a pseudonym gives you the courage to write from your heart and emotions, then Yay!

As long as you're not writing non-fiction that accuses someone of something, why should you have to share who you are? And why should you have to share how you create it? Isn't the story enough?

The illusion of fame is so pervasive in our culture, we make it a cult and let it run roughshod over art. To take a page from Hollywood, not every actor has to be caught in the spotlight in some seedy club. Some just go home to their families and all you hear about is their work.

And I totally get the feeling the fiction thing. Doesn't make writers crazy, just makes us sound crazy to nonwriters.

spyscribbler 12/16/2007 07:36:00 PM  

Fame is such a strange entity. I have mixed feelings about it. Fame is a little bit of power, and a lot of actors do some great things with it. That's cool. But then, some end up being bad heroes and role models to others, and the problem is fame makes them role models of sorts, whether they want it or not. Which isn't fair in the first place, anyway.

Ah well, I got off topic, didn't I? LOL, J.K., you put a good spin on things!

Edie 12/17/2007 09:08:00 AM  

Spy, there are too many weirdos out there to use your real name on something that might be out of the mainstream. You were wise to use a pseudonym. Really, what difference does it make what name you use? What matters is what you write.