THE RIGHT WAY TO USE PSEUDONYMS
ONE THING writers seem congenitally incapable of doing is creating interesting personas for themselves. Turning themselves into imagined characters. Yet in this hyper-noisy society it might be, among a mass of wannabe scribblers, one of the only ways to stand out.
RECALL how easily performers in other fields created entertaining personas for themselves. One of the earliest of them was rock n roll pioneer Screamin Jay Hawkins.
Similarly, local television hosts created memorable characters for themselves– one broadcast on stations in Cleveland and Detroit known as The Ghoul.
Radio hosts did likewise– a classic example being Dr. Demento.
WHY NOT writers? It would make perfect sense for a writer of horror stories to brand himself as “Count” something-or-other and play the part. Or, for the author of romance tales to name herself “Barbara Bodice” and sell sex appeal. Alls fair in love and marketing.
Oh, plenty of young writers use pseudonyms. Too many of them– but their stage names have no visual quality and no flair. Usually the names are obscure pseudo-intellectual references to this philosophical idea or that one– because said writers see themselves not as potential pop stars, but– ridiculously enough– as intellectuals. Steering (even those who have actual writing talent) their work in that direction. Which means strictly limiting its appeal. A fan base consisting of their own circle of overeducated in-debt college grads. The notion of writers as entertainers is anathema to them. They’re “serious.” Which is why the literary art as a relevant cultural form has been sinking faster than the Titanic.
THE OBVIOUS example of course, of the success of created personas, is the wrestling game, particularly the WWE under the stewardship of Vince McMahon, greatest promoter in American culture since P.T. Barnum.
COULD a literary project produce valid literary works, poetry and fiction, and do it with fun and flair?
This is just one of the challenges we’ve set for ourselves.
It will take a few hungry new writers eager to become personalities. To be stars.