Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Pen name? I prefer the term "alias," thank you very much

Riley Noehren is a bad blogger.

I have no problem writing that, you see, because (1) it is absolutely true, and (2) Riley Noehren is not my real name but a name I put on my novel because I work in a stodgy profession where they want you to read and write all the day long without ever reading or writing anything remotely entertaining or enjoyable. Rather, the more your reading material and writing output lulls a layman to sleep, the more successful your day has been. And so Riley Noehren was born of necessity--that is, a need to protect my true identity (hereinafter, "Not Riley"), and therefore my career, from being associated with the type of person who would read or write a novel.

Now, I know what you are thinking--Isn't it true that a lot of people who once shared your same stodgy profession are now successful novelists? Yes, that is true, but the key word here is "successful." That is, these novelists, who are generally regarded as traitors and/or weaklings within the stodgy profession, no longer have an economic need to maintain any credibility or position within it. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of Not Riley.

However, once Riley was in play, Not Riley began to realize there were several unforeseen advantages to having an alternate identity, among them:
  • getting to invent a new signature without worrying that all your financial transactions will be rejected as a result
  • upping your own friend count on Facebook
  • receiving double the junk mail, including Macy's coupons and CB2 catalogs (one for the coffee table and another for the bedroom)
  • betting with oneself as to whether Riley or Not Riley will be the Mr. Hyde to the other's Dr. Jekyll
  • enjoying the movie Sybil for the first time
  • referring to oneself in the third person and thereby joining the lofty ranks of Bob Dole and Elmo

Of course, if you happen to know both Riley and Not Riley, I would appreciate it if you would not mention Not Riley's name on this blog, lest the members of the stodgy profession hear of it or, even worse, CB2 knocks us back down to a single catalog.


  1. Bob Dole and Elmo. Hee hee.

  2. But I think Prudence is a lovely name. You needn't be ashamed.

  3. Do Birthday and Christmas gifts now apply to both Riley and Not Riley??

    Although a nifty plan, I only request that Riley's birthday not be in May, June or July.

    I would daresay I am not alone in that sentiment.

  4. Oh, to have two identities would be SO confusing for me.

  5. Kate, I must confess that managing the multiple email accounts for two identities is a bit of a drag. Fortunately, my iPhone lets me look at all of them without constantly logging in and out of each one.