Pseudonyms

Now They Pay Me

Guess what, blogosphere? Guess what I get to do as part of the new job I started in January? I get to write blog entries on work time! For legit! I mean, I’m not just sneaking in personal blog entries on my employers’ time out of boredom and resentment, the way I did at my old job. I am on our library’s readers’ advisory team, and as part of that, I get to blog about books I’ve read! Yes! I’m getting paid to blog!

Of course, my library blogging is done under my real name. I don’t think I could sell them on my pseudonymous blogger identity. Not that I’d want to, anyway.

Because there, you know, I’m representing the library, and I have to be more careful about what I say and how I say it. I have to try for humor without too much snark. Not like here, where I can simply write whatever I want because nobody knows it’s me. My safe, safe world of pseudonymous blogging.

I’d just like to add that my grammar, usage, and punctuation are flawless in both kinds of blogging. Unless you don’t like the Oxford comma, in which case you will have an issue with this particular choice of mine. I care about perfection in both contexts. It’s just in the real world that I feel I have to watch my tone.

I just finished reading a book about Dorothy Parker. I’m not sure if it’s the best book there is about Dorothy Parker; in fact, I imagine that she, like me, would take issue with some of the English language usage chosen by this author. In any case, this author makes the point, at the end of the book, that Dorothy Parker gave American women a voice during the first half of the twentieth century. She became famous for saying all kinds of outrageous things, and for writing immoderately clever prose, and for turning out formally perfect and witty poetry.

I think the author was also admiring her bravery for saying all the outrageous things that she said, for not falling into the trap of being nice all the time. Sometimes I wish I had a little more of that. But then I remind myself that Dorothy Parker was also a profoundly unhappy person. Maybe if you’re that unhappy, that’s when you care less about the consequences of what you say. I have noticed, myself, that it is very difficult to be witty and kind at the same time. Wit often comes at the expense of other people’s weaknesses.

So it’s a new challenge for me, at work, to be amusing and bright while imagining the library director looking over my shoulder and judging whether or not what I’m saying is appropriate. Because at work they know me. And it’s a little scarier to put my writing out there.

I’m also enjoying the irony of having prepared myself for blogging at my current job by sneaking around blogging at my previous job. I do have some familiarity with WordPress, and I do have a certain tone I like to adopt while blogging, even if I feel the need to adapt that tone for public consumption.

And blogging for work has reminded me just how much I like it. So I’m back. I’m thinking of trying for twice a week, the way I did at the beginning, when I was all ambitious and disciplined. Twice a week. Yep. Because I’m the only one who is going to make myself do this.

Love you & leave you,

Hobbie DeHoy

Who am I, anyway?

Every so often, I second-guess my decision to publish this blog pseudonymously. The spellchecker doesn’t like the word “pseudonymously,” but you all know what I mean, right? I kind of like the word “pseudonymously,” it’s multi-syllabic and clunky and I should probably say “under a pseudonym” instead (oh, look! The spellchecker likes me again!) but I just can’t help myself. Pseudonymously, pseudonymously, pseudonymously! Take a long walk off a short pier, spellchecker!

(Side note: the spellchecker likes “spellchecker” but not “spellcheck.” That is so meta, spellchecker! And there’s another clunky word for our lexicon, too. Try saying “spellchecker” five times fast.)

Well, so I chose Hobbie DeHoy for my super-secret pseudonym. And I have kept it super-secret. The disadvantage of this is that I’m not going around telling my real-life friends and family to read my blog. I’m not announcing it on facebook. I’m not forwarding a link to it via email. I’m just secretly pounding away at the keyboard here, convinced that if anybody I know ever read this, I would be losing friends right and left.

Maybe I’m wrong about that. But, you know, it is really kind of fun to have this blog be my little secret. I don’t know why that is. Maybe I’ve gotten to the point where reading whatever people say on facebook and looking at all their posted pics (oh, God, way too many pics) is such a turn-off for me that I now believe that all those other people wouldn’t really like what I have to say either. And we’ll just never know, will we, because of the mystique of the pseudonym.

Do other bloggers have real-world friends following them? They probably do. I’m probably much more cowardly than most people. Hobbie DeHoy, the Cowardly Blogger. That’s me.

Maybe I’m just socially awkward. But that doesn’t really matter within the context of this blog, does it? By choosing to publish under another name, I am, in a way, publishing outside of the context of my actual society. I’m writing in a fantasy world here, people. Maybe I should try writing fantasy as a genre, since evidently I really enjoy it when my writing has no connection to the actual world around me.

Are there any fantasy writers out there? Are any of you as sneaky and secretive as I am?

I do get a little bit of a thrill out of writing under a pseudonym, so I won’t give it up. Even though that might get me more followers. I’ve always been my own worst enemy.

Love you & leave you,

Hobbie DeHoy