As law students filled the room, the moderator of the event whispered to me, “Are there any fun facts I can include about you in the introduction before you speak?”
“Huh?” I replied. Fun facts? Lawyers aren’t fun.
“Isn’t there something interesting about you that I can tell the group?”
“Like whether you write under a pen name.”
“No,” I replied, forcing her to stick with my stodgy professional bio. I do write under a pen name, but it’s not like I was under oath or anything. If my answer to her question had been “yes,” I wouldn’t have any need to write this blog and my books under a pseudonym.
The audience that day was a group of future legal advocates, individuals who might’ve been interested in Amelia Elkins Elkins, in which a modern version of Jane Austen’s Anne Elliot navigates the American courts after her mother’s untimely death. However, selling a handful of books isn’t a good enough reason to expose my literary side to my future professional peers.
As I discussed briefly in Anonymity Doesn’t Only Protect the Trolls (It Protects Nice People Too), I choose to remain semi-anonymous, whether on the cover of my books or in comments on blogs and reviewing sites, because I want to keep a line between the different facets of my life (personal vs. professional, online vs. real life). I explore legal issues on this blog, like copyright infringement, that are quite different from the civil rights work I do in my real life. I wouldn’t want potential clients who contact my office to be confused about my practice areas. Plus, I like my privacy.
Still, there must’ve been something I could’ve said to the moderator. In Last Week Tonight’s recent show on Prisoner Re-entry, John Oliver said to a courageous guest who feared being seen as nothing more than a former inmate: “Everyone has at least three other things about them that are interesting.” Indeed.
So, what are mine (apart from my double-life)?
- My twins were born more than three months early, but today, you’d never be able to tell; 🙂
- I was voted “Most Opinionated” by my high school class (a dubious honor, but sadly, a well-deserved one);
- In September, I planted 1,200 spring bulbs in the hopes that they’ll bloom in time for my birthday (making me look forward to getting another year older!).*
Your turn: What would you have told the moderator to include in your introduction? If you write under a pen name, would you have disclosed it?
*Extra fun fact: If you couldn’t already tell from #3, I’m nuts!