Who Am I?   4 comments

Did you write under a pseudonym? Why?

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Hiding In Plain Sight

Yes, I write under a pseudonym. Why?

I think I’ve used this maxim before. “It’s not that I have anything to hide, there’s just nothing I want you to see.”

Wise Advice

My husband is related to Ben Sliney, the National Operations Director who (on his first day in his new position, September 11, 2021) had to order all the airplanes in the country on the ground. A decade later, Ben, upon hearing I was planning to publish my first book, suggested I should use a pseudonym. “Don’t do anything to invite the public into your life. You’ll never get them out.” Also, my legal first name combined with my husband’s last name is a mouthful — not a public-facing kind of name. In fact, I don’t even use my legal first name among people I know face to face. My parents never called me by my legal first name–not even when they were mad at me. I got a combination of their nickname for me and my middle name.

So I took a family name with a famous writerly connection — my grandmother was cousin to the poet Edwin Markham — and a nickname given to me in college and became Lela Markham. It’s not that you couldn’t figure out how to peek behind the curtain to find my real identity, but it keeps the public out of my life so I don’t have to share details that I would rather keep private. Not that I’m in danger of becoming famous, but you never know. Following wise advice seemed like a good idea. You could find me, but hopefully, no fans will show up in my driveway…unlike Ben who has had people taking pictures of him through his bedroom window as well as receiving death threats from people who believe he was “in” on their favorite conspiracy theory.

It also allows me to say things on social media that my employer might not appreciate. I absolutely believe we have a right to speak our mind in public, but there are lots of people who don’t agree and that means a little anonymity protects our freedoms.

Posted November 1, 2021 by aurorawatcherak in Blog Hop

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4 responses to “Who Am I?

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  1. This is a rerun topic. IJS.

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  2. I’m with you on remaining private, Lela. Quite a few of my nearest and dearest would never speak to me again if they ever found out my pen name!

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  3. Likewise, my real name isn’t a secret, I just prefer not to be associated with it (for various reasons).

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  4. It’s difficult when you work in a publicly-funded position- how to draw the line between freedom of speech and the idea that you are representing your employer, even in your off time. Too many companies believe they have the right to dictate our lives in exchange for the ‘privilege’ to work for them.

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