Week 76 – Pen Names, Nicknames And Shame

typewriterI was wondering about protocol with pen names this week. If there is contact from an author to us regarding writing, should we refer to the person by their pen name? I’m honestly not sure. Historically most people had a pen name because their gender was getting in the way. Now-a-days you would hope that isn’t an issue. I suppose something that is politically loaded or against a hierarchy, you could understand the person wanting to be obscure. But let’s be honest, it is difficult to hide, not only your views in this day and age but you, yourself. There is a camera, a microphone or some twat on Facebook who is always willing to spill the beans.

In Scotland we call ourselves whatever we want. Mind you most of the time it is due to either a scam or a wee mental problem. Jimmy ‘One leg’ McCafferty was only called that to point the Department Of Work And Pensions to his plight. Whether he actually had one leg, well that is another issue. He thought he did and that should be good enough for anyone.

If you want to call yourself, ‘Emperor Of The Universe’, people will refer to you as ‘Emperor Of The Universe’. They respect your wishes and you can expect the onslaught of ridicule.

These thoughts and our first story of the week got me thinking on some nicknames that I have come across. Some of these are cruel, some are clever but most are just stupid.

All through her life there was a woman who was known as ‘Pigeon’. This was due to an unfortunate time in her very early school days when she couldn’t control her bowels and made a mess of herself where she stood. One kid shouted, ‘She lets fly, just like a pigeon!’ and the name stuck.

A close friend of mine was called ‘Soggy’. This was due to his surname of Ritchie. This sounded like Rich Tea and when you dunked the biscuit, they became ‘Soggy’. I don’t know what genius came up with that.

A guy I worked with was christened ‘Thar’ by his colleagues. This name was from a character in an alien comic-book. ‘Thar’ was an enthusiastic user of certain chemicals and most of the time he was on another planet. We will never know if he was proud of the name as he was too busy trying to catch the colours emitting from his fingers.

There are a few nicknames that are due to resemblance. Another friend when referred to as ‘Clooney’, thought that he was being recognised for his good looks. His gas was put at a peep when he was told that his hair was ‘Goin’ awfy grey’. I know a ‘Stick’ who has been called that all his life as he is a very svelte human being. The late great John Sullivan wrote one of the funniest characters ever with ‘Trigger’. Someone asked if he was called this because he carried a gun, and the answer was ‘Naw, he looks like a horse.’

I’ve also came across an ‘Egg’ and an ‘Eggy’. The first was because he was a chef and the other was because his name was ‘Boyle’.

But my favourite was a guy who admitted to not being the easiest on the eye. He answered to ‘Scare The Weans’.

I just wonder if you become the nickname or the nickname becomes you.

So is it the same with a pen name? Do you become that persona? Is that the personality that is not you as you but you as the writer?

OK, onto this weeks stories. As always we have quite a mix of topics. We have everything from past friendships being emphasised by social history, a very unique eating disorder, another tale from the West, a character who you question whether their bravado is as strong as it seems and a nod to dreams and ambition with a reference to films of the seventies. Now come on folks, admit it, where could you get such a fascinating trifle of tales??

As is now the set in stone usual, our initial comments are included.

We were so happy to see another old friend return on Monday. Dave Louden sent in his first offering for a wee while with ‘Hail Caesar’. (Thanks for inspiration on this weeks post Dave!)

‘Hard and brutal.’

‘Real and believable.’

‘Cruelty amongst friends actually shows love.’

On Tuesday we welcomed, ‘Rebecca Lee’ with her strange tale ‘Tupperware Party’

‘I really enjoyed this.’

‘I think she was going for an acceptance of a disorder instead of conformity.’

‘An amusing play on words’

On Wednesday all we need to say is Tom Sheehan. The quality was therefore guaranteed! Another wonderful tale from his pen entitled ‘Plumbeck The Fiddler’

‘When you put Tom’s plot and his description together, it’s very enjoyable, readable and magical.’

‘He takes you and plops you down in the middle of where the story is.’

Thursday had me getting my pen out. Both Nik and Diane have inspired me to have a go again and this was the result. I was very happy that my fellow editors accepted my story ‘To Kill John Morgan’.

The end of the week loomed. Ed Barkin had another story published with ‘Goodbye Wall Street’. Maybe not the shortest of shorts but a very entertaining read.

‘Very smooth. Very smooth indeed.’

‘I was happy to read all of this.’

‘Well written, good pace and just enough wry humour.’

Sadly, week 76 is now passed!

To round-up my round-up: I’ve had to think on my own pen-name. Not for any understandable reason, only shame as I have just completed my Romantic, Young Adult, Fantasy, Angst Fest entitled, ‘Handsome Luke, Is, Like, Falling In Love With A Misunderstood Orc’ by Gemima McSpew??

(Thanks Nik for allowing me to borrow your idea and diary entries!!)

See you all next week.



Banner Image: By 76Winger (Flickr: DSC_0149) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

5 thoughts on “Week 76 – Pen Names, Nicknames And Shame

  1. I identify strongly with the nickname syndrome. The title bestowed on me was “Peels” when I was class-president in high-school. The name stuck with me when I moved to the US because people found it less intimidating to pronounce that my real name. Now I use it in my head to refer to myself. Have I become a vegetable remnant or has it become me? Thanks for this piece which makes me think about it! 😀


    • Hi there,
      ‘Peels’ is a Scottish Outdoor Bowling term for having an equal score. I wonder if this gives your nickname another level??
      Thanks so much for taking the time to read and comment.
      All the very best.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. As a member of the Union of Pennames and Imaginary Friends, and having my name changed because of this, I find that an alias isn’t helpful when you wish to dodge a hangover.
    L. Allison


    • A hangover is simply your conscience.
      The easiest way to avoid them is to have no conscience, oh, and just stay drunk!!
      You make me smile Leila!!
      All the very best.


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