With Guest Blogger and Author J'linn Kramer
(During the month of June, here at Today the Dragon Wins we explore the use of pseudonyms. Don't forget to participate in the discussion in the comment field to enter the contest for a copy of the eBook versions of Choices Meant for Gods and Apparitions. Details were posted June 1.)
When You Can't Write Under the Nickname "Spitz"
If procreation required more creativity than my parents mustered in naming me I’d have been a lost seed. My siblings didn’t fare much better: Daryld (who died as an infant), Karen and Don, II (twins), and Gary.
I went from being Linda Kramer to being Linda Hutchinson. Not an improvement, common-name-wise. Then each of my brothers married a woman named Linda. I had traded in my birth name and been replaced by two others.
Using a nickname might have been an option if my dad had ever called me anything but Spitz (I hated strained beets), Linny (I still hate that one), or Fluffo (which caused much consternation throughout my teen years). He finally settled in on “Linn” and I was grateful.
When buying a home several years ago we went to the bank to retrieve the down payment from our savings account. We were told we were overdrawn. How can one be overdrawn on their savings account? The clerk had pulled up another Linda J. Hutchinson’s account information. Her husband and mine shared the same common first name.
Being Linda Hutchinson isn’t so bad. I didn’t change it when I re-married because of professional credentials held in that name. But it is so very ordinary. When googling myself I find a host of other writers, a few Realtors, an artist or two, a doctor, a teacher, and a pseudo-hooker. Using my middle initial to differentiate myself doesn’t help. Why couldn’t my middle name have started with an X or a Z? It’s all my parents’ fault.
For a period of several miserable months, a teenage girl called half a dozen times a day accusing me of hiding her dead-beat father. Seems his last known girlfriend’s name was Linda Hutchinson – and she wasn’t highly regarded by his children. This child was angry. She would cry, scream, yell, and threaten until I’d repeat for the tenth time “I do not know your father” and hang up on her. A few minutes later she’d call again. I didn’t know her father but vowed to pop him in the mouth if I ever met him.
I thought the angry teenager’s verbal assaults were as bad as it could get. I was wrong. Her attacks were nothing compared to the bill collectors skip-chasing a woman who seemed to have scammed and conned her way through several states.
But it’s my name and I’m comfortable with it. I use it when writing non-fiction and it’s always a thrill to see that byline. It’s also convenient when depositing checks.
Fortunately, as a writer of fiction, I have the option – and near-duty – to come up with a pen name that is different from anyone else’s. I get to be someone else, one who lives in another world of my own making.
Being J’linn Kramer, knowing I’m the only one in the world – until someone with little creativity sees it and names their kid after me – is something I treasure.
Bio: Linda J. Hutchinson is frequently published in print and online media. She writes about construction, travel, food, volunteerism, writing, living with chronic illness, and parenting. She often spends too much time with hard-hat hair but has been told she cleans up real good. J’linn Kramer’s work has been published online. A novel is in process. http://www.lindajhutchinson.com/
"Some days, I just want the dragon to win."
Tags: Linda Hutchinson, J'Linn Kramer, pseudonym, pen names, dragon