I’m at the coffee shop. This is the last of a four-day stretch of revisions and tonight I’m winding down. I’ll be back at the office tomorrow and Thursday, after which I’ve got four more days lined up. Bring on the caffeine.
My sister asked me over lunch why I’m doing all this. Since I won’t publish under my real name (if I publish at all, this novel could well end up in a drawer or possibly the shredder), what’s the point? I would have thought it was about being recognized for your work, she said. Averil Dean doesn’t exist, so where’s the recognition?
I didn’t know how to answer her at first. Part of me understands what she means–after all, recognition is the goal of most creative endeavors, and until she asked I would have assumed it was the point for me as well. But considered in those terms, I’ve realized that maybe writing is not about recognition, or if it is, perhaps the word has come to mean something to me that has nothing to do with my name(s). After all, it’s still me, doing the work; whatever I call myself, these are still my hands. This is my mind, creating the story. This is my eye, my heart. Does it matter that I’m building a life as a writer, completely unconnected to my “real” self? Does it matter that you’d look right past me on the street?
No. Not to me, not anymore. My goals have evolved beyond that, or maybe they’ve shrunk. Writing has become deeply personal, an exploration of who I am and how I see the world. Whether I call myself Averil or Lauren or Zoë or Sue, recognition is beside the point except as it exists in me.
Though if someone wanted to throw some money my way, I’d tell them how to make out the check.
Do you associate recognition with your name? If you wrote and published anonymously, would it bother you not to claim your work?