The Anonymity of a Pen NameAnyone who has been reading my stuff on here, Useless Knowledge, American Chronicle, (or you want one simple place to read it all,) kayceenilson.com, few readers know that Kaycee Nilson is a pen name. I had a very good reason to use a fake name when I started writing and now that the reason has ended, it's a decision I've had to make, continue my writings under this name or give up my real identity.
There are Pros and Cons to both. Using a Pen Name gives my family the opportunity to live a private life with me. The biggest Con is the fear that no one would want to read my stuff anymore if they knew the "reality" of me.
I am a woman, I am a psychiatric patient, and I am also currently fighting Ovarian Cancer for the second time. I am currently married, I do have three kids, one Grand-child, another Grand-child on the way, one cat, one fish, three dozen sea snails and one dog. I go to PTA functions, I volunteer with one of the best youth organizations that has been in existence in America for the last 100 years. I garden, I have friends that come over and we cook-out, we discuss life, men, sports, some politics, and what brand of moisturizer is on sale that week.
The private "me" is able to go to the grocery store in curlers, can wear house shoes when I drop my youngest two kids off at school. Can talk on the phone for hours to my friends and my Mom without having to get off the phone because a client walked in. The ability to work out of my house and write when my husband is at work and my kids are at school is dear to me.
I can say things as Kaycee Nilson that I can't say as the real me. It affords me the ability to almost have a split personality without having to take more psych meds. I have the ability to create change even if it's only one small section of the World Wide Web. Having this blog allows me to write what I want to and not have to bow to the wishes of a newspaper editor. I control the flow, not a book publisher. I find things that I think are fun and interesting and after writing about it, my secondary email is filled with people who find the same stuff as neat as I do. I enjoy the double life that is surely to end once "Night Falls On Chicago" is published and I sell more than 10 books.
Sometimes the outpouring through the keyboard and onto the screen is how I really feel. I cannot honestly say that everything I write as Kaycee Nilson is 100% different than what ___________ ___________ feels. Most of the time it is intertwined. But having the ability to shroud my family in privacy and having a bit of a life that is just for me and for them is wonderful and a feeling that I can't properly put into words to describe the absolute joy of being able to turn off the writer part sometimes and be Momma, Maw-Maw, Mrs. ________ and simply the me that only a handful of a select few know the reality.
I have less to edit in my head at night before I go to sleep by having this duality. I'm able to say to myself when I read a hate email directed at Kaycee over something written that it is directed at Kaycee and not at _______.
You get the drift?
It's both liberating and a liability.
I could describe it as a character out of one of the world's best piece of literature, "Dr. Jeckyl & Mr. Hyde." It's the best of both worlds. The ability to do and say things that I normally wouldn't do as _______, but as Kaycee, I can say and do those things. I can write a killer novel. I can submit portfolios to journalistic papers. Or in my private life, I can call up one of a dozen people, go to a local café, and have a cup of coffee and bitch about my youngest son leaving his dirty socks in the living room for the umpteenth time. I can go in broad daylight to the beauty parlor and have a shampoo and a color without having to worry about paparazzi snapping pictures of me without makeup and looking like Alice the Goon from the old Popeye cartoons.
It's a good life and I'm going to enjoy it while it lasts!!!
Published on 10/20/2011 in