Funny thing, online handles. For the last seven years or so, I’ve gone almost exclusively by the online name of mynfel.
That doesn’t mean every mynfel you see out there is me (although most of them probably are…however there’s a live journal and a myspace page out there that aren’t mine, among others.)
The name itself isn’t even mine – mynfel is a character created by Charles de Lint from a book entitled Yarrow. She’s a deer woman and barely says anything – in fact, she’s hardly in the book at all – but she’s probably one of the most important things about it.. I fell in love with the concept of her character and adopted the name for my online dealings.
Most of my electronic memberships have an echo of that particular thumbprint – it’s my avatar on P&T, it’s in the name of this blog URL, it’s my Rubberslug Gallery name, my DA account name and until yesterday it was my twitter account name. Now, of course, I started most of those things before I even gave remote thought to trying to become published.
Online handles are great – they’re easy to change and they give people a way to acknowledge you – without *really* knowing who you are. They provide a bit of a protective shell. It’s easy to retreat inside it, or become a different sort of persona all together.
On request of my editor, I was told it would be better to change my twitter account name to @allison_pang – which I have done. Easier for people to find me (and it turns out there’s already an @allisonpang out there. Go figure.)
It felt a little sad, though. Like I’m being forced out of the online/anonymous/nameless cocoon of the internet. I’m publishing under my own name, so now I have to own it. Maybe it’s a bit scary, since there’s no turning back at this point.
On the other hand, it’s also a bit freeing. This is who I am, after all.