I get so frustrated when I know the answer to a question but can't bring it to mind. Such an experience happened over Memorial Weekend when I heard the poem, In Flanders Fields. Way back in fourth grade, our class memorized said poem and I felt sure I would never forget who wrote it. I know it orginated from a doctor in WWI. His name .... I'm crumpling paper here trying to remember.
Names are important. As writers we have the decision to use our own name, partial name or a pen name. Do we want to be a Mark Twain or George Orwell, both who used pen names, each for different reasons. Or do we want our own name on our books?
Perhaps we want to be like Daniel Handler with his famous children's books. Who, you might ask, is Daniel Handler? As a children's librarian, I do know the answer to this pop quiz. None other than Lemony Snicket. Handler chose to make his character the author of his Series of Unfortunate Events. A rather cool idea and kids love this style of writing.
Then there is the identity hide-out by using initials. Many folks accused me of doing this. I've received notes and emails stating if they had known I was a woman they would never have purchased my book. Wow! That's powerful information. I'm glad I chose to go with DL and not Deb. Except I wasn't trying to hide my femaleness, I was simply trying to get away from an over-used name. DL is a nickname and therefor why I don't use periods behind each letter. Unfortunately that has caused much confusion. I think DL sounds very female, but D.L. has an ambiguous sound so I can understand folks thinking I used initials to hide my true identity.
So have you recalled the author of In Flanders Field?
Is it Eric Blair? Samuel Clemens or John McCrae?
Still not sure? If you don't put Mark Twain and Samuel Clemens together, then you are NOT smarter than a 5th grader! That leaves Eric and John. Hmmm. Eric Blair is the author of Animal Farm and 1984. Does that help? He didn't believe his writing was good enough to use his real name. And I say, Lord, give me strength, if George Orwell didn't feel worthy to use his real name, what am I doing fumbling about trying to put words on paper?
So that leaves John McCrae! If you knew he was the author of In Flanders Field, then you get to go to the head of the class! With a gold star by your name!
Take a moment to share what name you have chosen to use as a writer. Feel free to explain your reasons.
Til next time ~