Thursday, July 23, 2009

Explanations of the Current Nomenclature

Was browsing through the pits of my "documents" folder, when I came upon an essay I wrote way back when I first conceived of this pen name, nickname, nome de plume, literary double. This rationalist justification of my pseudonym. The date stamped electronically upon it is December 2007.


"Pen Name

What's the use of a pen-name? Does the anonymity and cleverness bring some aspect of the weird and cool to my writing? Will the stories, poetry, and essays become something more than what they are through my submersion into this word-&-paper persona?

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Maybe I'm trying too hard. Maybe there's no need for any kind of superfluous flourish to give my authorship an extra boost in status. I mean, who I am as an author should have nothing to do with what I write. Right? The name attached to the work is nothing but a footnote. Right? What possible need could someone like me have for a false indentity. Right?

Wrong. Sadly people do look at names, titles and first lines. If you can't convert a reader in sixty seconds or less, your words are as dead as the ink on that page. The giants who hold up the great towers of literature will not see my halted struggling sentences unles I create some sort of bang and whistle to draw their attention away from their own magnificence. The audience demands entertainment not life.

Sad isn't it? That this world is so damned noisy that even the rarity of silence is not enough to capture attention and recognition. No, we must boom and blast louder than anyone else to be heard. Everyone's gone deaf so that what's good and real - who speak quite softly - have to dress themselves in costume like all the rest before their message is heard.

And what's in a name, really? I have no idea. The need to define, juxtapose and then forget so that we may understand completely seems to be unavoidable though. I could dress up anew each day to remain outside of grasping - remain complex and alive. But the world would never hear me, see me, read me then.

Frequently I've marveled at the clothing I wear as my title. Steve (or Stephen to some who sit too stiff and formal). Steve Tow. Stephen Michael Tow. Mr. Tow! Is this the name of a world-shaker? A mind-changer? An author to be counted among the great and powerful voice of our past and present times? Fuck no.
Hemingway, Tolstoy, Vonnegut, or Twain never wore anything that dull. So I'll dress myself into their likeness. I shall put on the emperor's clothes, climbing up those giants who hold aloft the towers of literature. And when I stand on the peak above all the rest, the wind nearly blowing me from the heights, I'll cast off my garb and throw it into the air. I will stand there, naked before the mob, the giants, the stone columns and critics. Naked before the storming rain and sky. I'll have fooled the entire world only to show them myself completely at the very end when there is nothing they can do. It is at that precise moment that true freedom can be found. When you've gone beyond the grasp of others to reach and touch is the only place where fate or fortune are no longer your master, but you their's.

What will I do with that freedom? That power over myself? The whole sight of my life laid before me in a picture of patchwork carpet that is the earth below. Dreams floating around my head as the ceiling of the earth brushes my hair. I will be atop the shoulders of titans yet stand no taller than I ever have. My name shall live on, inscribed in the steps that I climbed. The words I've written will be studied and preserved like an ancient tome. What will I do?

I'll laugh and jump off so that I can do it again.

Zek J Evets"

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