I met a lot of new people on my trip to Canada. Because I’m determined to write up this trip soon thereafter, unlike my last two bouts of travel, which, while they remain mostly in my notebooks (fondly called “brains”), are gradually coming back to life, I’ve been thinking a lot about the life pseudonymic. Not everybody likes their real name being used online, others don’t like their photos appearing, and some don’t want either to happen. So I made a habit of asking people if I could post their photos online, and if they would prefer that I don’t use their real names online. Most were fine with my use of their real-life identities, while others wanted no photos published, and others, I suspect out of a sense of whimsy, suggested a name.
Since my return, I’ve been thinking about what pseudonyms I would assign to them, that would best represent them. I already have mine – the Victorian Librarian – which needs a bit more work to turn her into a true alter ego. Similarly, my family’s pseudonyms are woefully unimaginative: First Sibling, Second Sibling, Sibling-in-Law, First O’Neillkin, Second O’Neillkin, and, of course, the Parents (predictably referred to individually as Mum and Dad).
Some of the people I met on this most recent trip have their own pseudonyms already, notably the Giant Squid (author Peter Watts) and the Unicorn Girl (author Caitlin Sweet), as well as a friend made last year who goes by the name Calliandra. Other pseudonyms grew out of situations and Deeply Insensitive Comments (pseudonym of the perpetrator disclosed in the list below – who do you think it is?), such as the business partnership of Somewhat and Fairly. I am Fairly, and Somewhat is one of my hosts in Toronto. We are a Victorian era, umm, support network (to deviate briefly from pseudonyms to euphemisms) for artists’ models, available when the artists are unsatisfied with the models’ facial expressions, non-tilting of the head, and other posing difficulties. We can provide clients with the services of a with a swordcane-wielding vigilante in extreme cases. Elizabeth Siddal could have used our services when dealing with Millais and the Case of the Cold Bath.
The following are the pseudonyms I have so far assigned to people I encountered in Canada. I have not yet decided whether I will continue to use them in subsequent blogposts (with the understanding that alternatives or real-life names may be requested) or whether this may just be a way to exercise the imagination for an afternoon. Not everybody I met is here (yet). If anybody reading this recognises her/himself, you can email me to confirm or to request an alternative name; if you have no qualms about your anonymity, feel free to post in the comments.
- The Caliph’s Daughter
- The Merciless
- The Gentleman Gamer
- Fernando (a pseudonym of his own choosing)
- Speculative Wine
- Duct Tape Technology
- Space Rugelach
- The Couturier
- The Werewolf Bard