“Forget safety. Live where you fear to live. Destroy your reputation. Be notorious.” Rumi – That is part of a poem by 13th century Sufi poet Rumi. It is the first thing you see on the welcome page of this blog. It’s not just there to make me seem deep and pretentious (that’s covered with the French title), it also serves as a reminder to myself and others that life should be lived with passion and boldness. Would a pen-name be an act of fear?
Should I use a pen-name? Most people in this genre do. It sets up a barrier between their normal lives and a part of their life many people may look down upon. It’s not much of a barrier though. If someone wants to find out who you are these days, they can. It just takes a bit of research. But it’s better than nothing. Your name won’t immediately come up with all your works if a potential employer decides to do a quick google search on you. And they always do a google search these days if they’re at all interested in hiring you. It’s easy to say “oh I don’t want to work for a company/employer that would have a problem with that…”, it’s harder in practice when you need a job.
I’ve never liked the idea of pen-names. I’ve written short stories under pen-names before, when I was a teenager. I was too embarrassed to put my real name on them – and they got published online. Now those websites are down and I have no proof I ever did any of that. Nor will any of those websites editors ever remember me with a different name. in a way I’m glad because I don’t respect those stories so much anymore. But they were still mine. And writers rarely like stories their younger selves have written. They still don’t change their name every decade for a fresh start.
I’m an adult now, sort of. And I want to stand by my writing. If I’m prepared to write something, I should be prepared to put my name on it. And if I can’t, maybe I shouldn’t do it in the first place. Having said all of that, I’m still undecided. If you’ve read Part I you’ll see that I say I’d be willing to use a pen-name if a publisher had an issue with my erotica and refused to publish serious literary writing otherwise. That would be a ridiculous situation to find myself in – using a pen-name for my favourite and most complex genre, and using my real one for this.
At the moment it’s all theory though.I have to actually write these stories first, and recently all my energy has been going on this blog.
Slightly changing the topic, is there a difference between pornography and erotica? Well one is written and the other is filmed. One is watched mainly by men, and the other is read mainly by women. Those are surface level differences. The effects on the brain may be quite similar. For me, the main difference is in the creation. One comes from the brain, the other requires real people. And many of those people do suffer as a result of their performances. Notice how I said people, rather than women? It’s always annoyed me that in discussions about pornography it’s always suggested that the women are the victims. Which, firstly or one thing completely neglects any discussion of male gay pornography, and secondly assumes all men come into porn without any difficult backgrounds in their own lives. You may remember from Part II that I don’t believe in morality, but I do feel it. And I feel that erotica doesn’t hurt anyone, whereas pornography can hurt the actors. I think erotica can even help some people who get to experience fantasies they may be embarrassed to admit.
Perhaps that’s just how I rationalise it to myself. Even dictators think they are doing the right thing, everyone has a way to justify their actions to themselves. At the moment I’m set on doing it though, pen-name or not.