The pseudonym: A (partial) Obituary

Many moons ago, when Magpie Shon and I were but wee uni students, we were sitting in the dingy kitchenette of our hall of residence and had a wonderful idea.

The idea was to create a blog. This blog would be a beautiful mess of a forum, a playground for the sarcastic and the witty, a meadow in which the creative and ridiculous would frolic. It would reflect our individual interests and flex a mutual need to stare at a screen mulling over synonyms while feverishly consuming tea.

As we penned titles, topic areas and taglines – Guide to Everything? That’s a lot of responsibility – we stumbled on one minor detail.

I was happy to have my name displayed on the interwebs, common as it is. Lucy is the 208th most popular girls name out of 4276 names – thanks Wikipedia! – and by all accounts unexciting. Shon, on the other hand, was not.

Historically, literary women have often opted for the use of a pseudonym to protect their identities. Charlotte Bronte famously pubished Jane Eyre under the gender neutral Currer Bell; her sister Emily published the wildly beautiful Wuthering Heights under Ellis Bell. Nelle Harper Lee, the author of the infamous To Kill a Mockingbird, opted for the more androgynous Harper Lee. But Shon’s desire for a pseudonym was not for fear of gender barriers or the perils of being a creative women entombed in patriarchy, her reasons were more modern.

The internet – wonderful as it is in so many ways – remains a large and anarchistic pot of wild cards, a place of epic good and even worse evil, to the point where it really is quite mind blowing. Privacy? Pshhh. What privacy.

And so it was that we spent the remainder of the evening brainstorming pseudonyms.

Peachy had a simple birth. When I was younger, I used to use the adjective ‘peachy’ a lot, much to the annoyance of, well, everyone:

“How are you today?

I’m peachy thanks, how are you?

No.

What?

Just no. “

Etc.

This word had somehow become my internet tag for several things, why not WordPress too?

Magpie, on the other hand, had a much more hilarious birth…a story you can read about here.

For now, join me in raising our tea cups and toasting to the (partial) death of the GTN pseudonym*, and the birth of a new blogging era.

Fare thee well Peachy and Magpie, hello Lucy and Shon.

x

*we’ve dropped down to first names, we hardcore.

IT’S… ALIVE!

So, I’ve finally climbed off my bum and written a blog post. “Guide to Nothing,” I hear you say, “I thought they were dead!” Not dead, dear readers (plural, because there are at least 5 of you – hi, Mum,) just very distracted. In all honesty, a more accurate description would be: sleeping, working, studying, and tumblr-ing. But, after a recent period of prolonged boredom, resulting from a hand injury,* and repeated lamentations by both Peachy and myself on the subjected of our neglected brainchild, I’ve finally roused myself from my creative torpor and had an Idea. An actual, actionable Idea. And I feel pretty good about it, if I do say so myself.

As anyone who knows me will tell you, I love to read. I love books. I love stories, I love knowledge, I love ideas, and poems, and essays, and articles… you get the gist. I also talk a lot. So, I thought, why not combine those two things and start talking (or writing) about some of the books I’ve read. I read pretty widely, and have favourites in almost every genre, so it’s not as though I’m going to run out of things to write about any time soon. The contents of my head are 80-90% stuff I’ve read, 1-2% people’s names, and 5% meals to make with beef mince and spaghetti sauce. The remainder is made up mostly of puppies, sugary food, sarcasm, and Star Trek: The Next Generation references.

One of my main aims here is to share a passion of mine in a reasonably accessible and interesting way, which isn’t always the first thing that people think of doing when they write about literature. If it helps, I think of ‘literature’ as virtually anything printed, bound, and legible. I may not personally like what you’re reading, but if you are reading, enjoying, and engaging with whatever it is, I’m not going to lecture you about how it’s not worth your eyeball time – I’m going to do an internal happy dance, because there is no reason anyone’s opinion should stop you from doing something that brings you joy. Unless it’s serial homicide or substance abuse, obviously. Don’t do that.

The other reason I want to do this is entirely selfish. I’m doing it for me. I like writing, and when I’m able to do it regularly, my brain feels less like an overfull tombola and a bit more like an overfull shelf. Hey, I’ll take what I can get. It’s also a good way for me to *pretentious artist voice* “work on my writing,” and “develop my own voice.” Translation into more palatble terms, I’ll be trying to compromise between being a perfectionist and being incredibly unmotivated. Should be fun.

I was originally going to work an introduction into my first book-y post, but my introduction ended up being 500 words of self sustained blab, and this is the internet. I know you’ve got at least four other tabs open right now, so I won’t drag this out. But fear not! The first post should be up in a couple of days, and in honour of Guide to Nothing’s glorious return to life, the first book I’ve chosen to write about (truth: started randomly thinking about while eating coco pops the other day,) is Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. I struggle to say I have a single favourite book, but if I could, this one would be a serious contender.

If you’ve enjoyed GTN’s previous fare, but don’t really consider yourself a book person, fear not – I’m sure I’ll get sidetracked and end up talking about chocolate unicorn donuts or something at some stage. And now I’m hungry for donuts. Awesome.

Until next time, dearest fruit-loops,

Magpie

x

*a hyperextended right thumb, from having either

a) wrestled a Drop Bear (thylarctos plummetus) into submission on a family holiday to the Snowy Mountains,

b) tried too enthusiastically to give a really good movie two thumbs up,

c) slipped while climbing over rocks in a creek on a family holiday to the Snowy Mountains, OR

d) opened the tightest jar lid ever.

I’ll let you decide which you find most likely.

Pfft, titles.

Hello, lovely readers!

I’m very terribly sorry that it’s been so long since my last blog post. An interesting combination of many things has prevented me from writing- it was assessment period at uni, I packed up my stuff and came home for the holidays, I started knitting some things,I finished knitting some other things, I tidied my room (seriously, that was so long overdue, one friend told me it looked like an episode of hoarders. I did not disagree.) Mostly though, I was just being super lazy. Super, super lazy. I was also a little creatively dry.

I now realise that a drought of creativity does not make for a valid excuse, especially when my life is such a rich mine of fascinating people and unlikely events. I sat down a few days ago and thought to myself, why don’t I write about that time I was stalked by a Spandau Ballet song? Or that time that I realised I look so much like my mother that if she ever got out of a DeLorean looking flustered I would lose my mind.  Or that time I realised my ten year old brother seriously hardcore and a little bit crazy (he took three stitches out of his foot with a pocket knife BECAUSE HE HAD NOTHING BETTER TO DO.) That one was today, actually. I took a nap for half an hour and BAM. When I was 10, I couldn’t even take off a bandaid without soaking it the bath for half an hour. The signs obviously point to him being his generations Bear Grylls and to the fact that I CAN NEVER NAP AGAIN. Which is sad, because naps make the world go round.

Anyway, I realised that my problem wasn’t a lack of creativity, it was the aforementioned laziness. What happened was, I finished uni for the semester, and I got bored. I get bored in very much the same way other people develop a cycle of self loathing. I wake up in the morning (Peachy and some of my other nearest and dearest will try to tell you that 11:58 doesn’t really count as ‘morning,’ but shhhhh,) and decide to have a lazy day. From there, being lazy causes me to be bored. When I’m bored, I don’t have a lot of motivation, so I feel lazy. It can go on for days. By the time I feel suitably motivated again, it’s highly likely that I will have watched a lot of episodes of The Walking Dead, Star Trek, Misfits, Community, Glee, QI and/or Game of Thrones. I will also have not written anything for the blog, tidied my room or eaten anything containing vegetables for quite some time.

So, dear reader/s, with y’all as my witnesses, (all six of you,) I swear to cut back on my lazy days and post more frequently. I promise, in upcoming posts, to tell you all about the time that a bee thought my nose stud was a flower and butt-danced on it for two minutes, wiggling its stinger just inside of my field of vision for a full two minutes (actually, that’s about  all there is to that one,) as well as a bunch of other fun weird bonkers stuff. YAY BLOGGING. YAY CONSISTENCY.

 

Magpie

x