Monday, January 3, 2011

Why Pseudonym? Or using a falsehood as a defining difference between Being Real and Being True

My post today was actually a response to a question posted by a blog I follow (and truly enjoy) – but hey! I wrote something, so I decided to post my response here. She posted a question to bloggers out there who use pseudonyms for our children we write about. I not only do for my children, but I also slightly altered my name — and I had reasons, so I shared them. You can see the original questing post here (and my original response, I took the opportunity to fix a few typos in my post below):

I love the spirit of your blog. I admire how you share, with utmost sincerity, the wisdom you are seeking and less of those more popular pearls and tear-jerking tales that are really beginning to annoy me in the blogosphere.

But, even though I started my blog in a rash act late one night, I quickly decided to use pseudonyms. There was a cautionary anecdote from my husband that, added to my own complicated back story, quickly sold the idea to me.

Basically, one day my children will read these stories I told to a world I didn’t even know. And if they disagree, they would realize, they had no opportunity to show any other side of the tales I was telling. And as much as I know I am mining my soul for true experiences, I have to concede that by writing it, there is an act of creation involved. And being an aspiring writer, I know the importance of developing character. Could I trust myself to stay true to us or would I succumb to that desire for hits by just telling a good story?

My blog is not wide read, nor do I think it will ever become as known as others out there. Ironically, I am too like my subject of autism, a little too geeky. I don’t have the humor or the social finesse to attract a large following. I fit in some awkward little niche and I blog in hopes of finding some other souls who feel comfortable there.

BUT – I feel for those children whose names become recognized and associated with the stories. It is possible their written character could grow larger and more well-known than their actual selves. And that is a HUGE invasion of privacy I would not wish on my child.

It is complicated to explain, but there’s that complicated back story of mine that convinced me all the same. My children are my children. The characters in my blogs are based on them. And I separate the two by a few silly pseudonyms.


  1. I see I wasn't the only one thinking about the pseudonym/identity issue as the year turned! Interesting choice to go with a real-name-slightly-altered for a pseudonym. My daughters' pseudonyms have a specific relationship to their real-names too.

    The snarky humorous blogs get the big audiences, but I'm glad there are non-snarky ones out there like yours to follow too. Happy New Year, and may it be rich with silver linings for you and yours!

  2. Happy New Year JoyMama and to the whole JoyFamily!

    Just read your blog on the topic. Yes, very interesting. Not only your own thoughts on aliases, but that many people are thinking about these things apparently. But then I start often start to see patterns in our topics. Whether this is due to influence or some sort invisible biorhythm, who knows. ;)

    Best to you and yours in 2011! Looking fwd to reading more from you.

  3. arrgg, more typos in there... it should read "being an ASPIRING writer," one who aspires to be inspiring, but still. And I didn't look up Pseudonym, an inversion there with the e u ... I do limit my time on these things.

  4. I agree completely. The boy I write about in my blog is based on my son, but he is not my son. "Bud" is an edited version of my son, and I have done the editing. In real life, my son edits (or, more often, doesn't edit) himself.

    I don't - and won't - use his name, even in instances where I do use my real name, so he doesn't ever have to worry that someday someone will Google him and find Bud. That being said, I also hope that nothing I write would horrify him - I do try to edit respectfully. But, still.

  5. I'm so sure everything you do, you do respectfully Mom-NOS.

    I don't know about you, but we have one entering into preteen years here. And despite what I do, I am but a mother. I feel I'm about to enter that period when anything I do may horrify my children.


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