Pen Names Are Like Condoms

Using a pen name is like wearing a “life” condom. It protects you from the unwanted consequences of your actions. It’s a barrier that lessons the anxiety of putting it out there–‘it’ being your work, of course (get your mind out of the gutter, Deborah). I didn’t realize how much I would appreciate mine until last week.

My last post was also about my pen name; but in it I was wondering if I should alter it. Never did I question if I needed one. I do. I seriously need one. I need it like a prostitute needs a condom. Is that a saying? If not, can we make it one? I mean, nobody really talks about whores in church nowadays, who, by the way, also would need condoms. But I digress.

Last week, a lovely friend of mine, who happens to be a sorority sister from college, put a post on Facebook about my book. She said some positive things and posted the Amazon link to Working On It. Within minutes, several people were adding to the post and asking some questions, as well as *gasp* buying it. It was awesome. I probably owe this friend a beer–if you’re reading this, thank you!

My sorority sister knows I wrote the book. But the others don’t (or, didn’t, I should say). I had a moment of hesitation of revealing myself. That pen name on the cover would protect me from any negative comments. It can’t magically prevent them, but if these people that I went to college with had terrible things to say about my writing, it’s okay because I’ve got some protection…a barrier…a figurative female condom. They aren’t talking about me, they’re talking about Cass. And how flippin’ delusional of me. I am Cass. Obviously.

I wasn’t prepared for that nervous ball of energy in my gut that started growing the second people expressed interest in reading what I wrote. I mean, my god, what if they hated it? I pride myself on being a bit of a badass. But being a writer and publishing the shit inside my head? It’s difficult. It’s not easy putting yourself out there, especially if you know that your humor might be a little twisted or that others might not share your affinity for the urban dictionary. Side note, I will continue to use the word ‘twatwaffle’ for the rest of my life.

And maybe I haven’t really put myself out there yet because I hide behind my pen name. But since I’m not ready to take on total responsibility or deal with any sort of fall out, I think I need to continue to practice safe writing.

Condoms save lives, y’all!