I'm so socially stunted that I totally get off on the whole 'pen name' thing. It feels like a game, a scam, adventure--like that scene in Bourne Identity when Matt Damon opens his safe deposit box and there's scads of cash, a truck-load of fake ID, and a gun. (Except without the cash and the gun.) Maybe it's a residual from all that daydreaming I did as an adolescent--or even further back there with that Dr. Seuss book I Want to Be Somebody New. (Wasn't that a book? That big yellow thing with the spots? Yeah... that was a book.) I mean--which one of us didn't want to be somebody new? In fact, I'm still waiting for the day I wake up as a thin blonde European woman sunbathing topless on the French Riviera, but until that happens, I'll just have to live with my four names.
Yup--four. My real name is very official sounding and it's on the inside front cover of my books. She's the one who does the housework and occasionally makes it to the gym and who goes to her parents for dinner. She's the one who daydreams frequently, buys truckloads of yarn and sometimes regrets it and who can't seem to shepherd four kids anywhere without the drama of keys falling out of purses, middle schoolers making inappropriate comments and toddlers running amok. She's sometimes shy, a little distracted, and extremely self-deprecating.
At work, I'm either Shanny Mac or Mz Mac (depending on whether it's the teachers or the students talking to me) and I rather like Shanny Mac. She's tough, and fearless, and has been known to drop the F-bomb in staff meetings when something really absurd (and nothing more absurd than the California public education system has been proved to exist) is dropped in her lap--although that hasn't happened in a while. Shanny Mac is often completely unafraid to say what she thinks, in spite of the bemused expressions of her students and the occasional derision of her peers. She's often nothing like the real me, but she's a lot of fun--Shanny Mac can get up in front of thirty-five high school students and convince them that George Orwell was a frickin' genius. Shanny Mac knits in staff meetings because it helps her keep her mouth shut and she doesn't give a trundling turkey if the administration thinks she's listening or not. (She is--listening to administration is the wellspring of her contempt.) Shanny Mac takes no crap from kids, but is willing to hug them when they need it and cheerfully offers to teach them knitting or English (no, not in that order) if only they will ask. I like Shanny Mac. I frequently wish I were her.
Amy Lane is the name on this blog. Amy Lane didn't exist until I was nineteen and waiting at the BART station in Daily City at ten o'clock at night, and wanted a nice way to talk to people and not seem stand-off-ish but really didn't want any of the other people on the bus to know her name. Amy Lane was going to be a WRITER, not an English teacher, and Amy Lane had a really dangerous boyfriend who drove a tricked out Mustang with a 302 engine. (Hey--didn't she marry that guy?) Amy Lane was dreamy and indifferent to publich opinion, and was someday going to be a contemporary of Robin McKinley and Patricia McKillip. Amy Lane looked at life through slantways eyes, and what went on behind those eyes was fantastic and odd and adventuresome--she could wait in the Daily City BART station at night and not worry about the bad things that could happen. Amy Lane writes all my stuff--in fact, I'm pretty sure it was Amy Lane who took my masters classes for me until I dropped out, and Amy Lane will continue to write until she simply evaporates one day like a bubble after the real me passes on. I like Amy Lane, but her very oddness frightens me. It's scary to know she spends so much time in my house.
And as for my other name? My other name--and you will hear a lot from this person--is Mom. And as much as I'd like to keep blogging, my toddler just wandered out in a sopping diaper with a desire to sit on my lap. Mom is needed. In fact, right now, she's the one who's needed most.