A new book titled Nom de Plume: A (Secret) History of Pseudonyms, by Carmela Ciuraru, is getting good buzz. In the book, the author lays bare the time-honored tradition of the pen name. Explicating her thesis in the New York Times Book Review, Ms. Ciuraru writes, “Many writers have been surprised by the intimate and even disorienting relationships they have formed with their alter egos. The consequences can prove grievous and irrevocable.”
Happily, when I became Cat Lady, I assumed more than a pen name and made peace with what at first appeared to be my alter ego—a personality who quietly challenged the prescribed trajectory of my life. Now, as I have blogged so often, Cat Lady is simply who I am, “take her or leave her” (in the case of ten cats who call Catland home, they like me, they like me!). Ms. Ciuraru also writes that many bloggers rely frequently on noms de plume, “but often as a means of generating publicity or branding a ‘persona.’”
I shun the limelight for a living, crafting my professional trade behind the scenes as an editor at an art museum. In the blogosphere, I have not pursued self-promotion with a vengeance and have yet to reveal my real name, although I like to think that, under the byline of Cat Lady, I have provided a window into my authentic self. I think you know where I am going with this train of thought.
I do not need a quill pen to convey my feelings on paper, but give me a feathered wand any day—my version of an open mike—and let’s talk about why “Cat Lady” can never be mistaken for a fake name.
Query of the Day: Is Cat Lady your pen name, or have you adopted another pseudoynym related to your calling?