It’s been a jam-packed few days, dominated by helping my sister move in to her new apartment in time for the school year to begin. I spent most of Thursday and Friday either packing, driving, or unpacking, but in the midst of everything, I snagged a few spare moments to work on my NaNo tale.
I’m happy to report that I have less than 6.5K to write before CampNaNo ends on the 31st. While the story is in no means complete, I have an amazing foundation in place. I’m looking forward to crafting a world around my characters, beefing up my use of steampunk technology, tightening the mystery/thriller elements of the plot, and weaving in bits of backstory and alternative history. Editing, I think, might end up being more fun than writing the first draft.
The other thing that has been on my mind is the question of choosing a pseudonym. I’ve been pretty lax about keeping my writing and non-writing lives separate. With the school year looming before me, however, the urge to protect my writing activities from Google-obsessed colleagues and students has become much stronger.
Adopting a penname is a difficult decision to make because I like my name. Granted, it’s a name that is often butchered and mispronounced, so I’ve learned to respond to countless variations (“Jamz” is the most recent, bestowed upon me by my grad school colleagues), but all the same, it represents who I am.
Most importantly, my name feels like an almost-tangible link to a rich tapestry of family history, one that is made all the more complex by my multiracial heritage. Jamison, my mother’s maiden name, connects me with a family tree that has been traced back to the Civil War, when the Emancipation Proclamation freed my many-times removed great-grandmother from slavery. Sinlao, my father’s last name, connects me to the Philippines, where my dad lived until he was 15. I feel strongly about being both black and Filipina, and the thought of discarding name and identity is troubling.
Still, a pseudonym is necessary. I want to write, I want to publish, and I want to build a presence on social media that won’t infringe upon my professional career. The only way I can do this without stressing out is to just pick a darn penname and move on.
To stem the inevitable existential crisis, I’ve crafted a name that hearkens back to my roots. I’m adopting “Lena Corazon” as my writing name, “Lena” after my maternal great-great grandmother, and “Corazon” as my private homage to Corazon Aquino, the first female president of the Philippines.
I’ve spent the past couple of days trying it out. Slowly but surely, I’m making it my own, scribbling it in my writing notebook, setting up Gmail and G+ accounts, and, er, dropping it in conversation whenever I can (I think my mom is getting sick of hearing about it. :p). Once I can set up WordPress’ site redirection service, I’ll switch over my blog address and Twitter account name as well. The thought is a little scary and rather bizarre, but I’m sure I’ll get used to it. 😀
So that’s me for the week! I will be traveling most of Sunday, heading back to SF, which means that comments and whatnot may be sparse from me over the next day or two. In the meantime, I wave my pom-poms of encouragement for all of my ROW80 compatriots as we near the end of Round 3. Keep up all the wonderful work, friends!