I've always been interested in how people handle being known by different identities. What's it like to be a performer known widely by a professional name but in private by his or her real name?
I remember working for a birth announcement company many years ago and typesetting baby announcements for the late Saturday Night Live actor Phil Hartman. He ordered two sets of cards: a large quantity with his named spelled "Hartman" and a smaller quantity with his name spelled "Hartmann," presumably for his family and close friends.
When I was younger, I used a stage name when I sang in bands. Even my band members didn't know my real name, although I would have told them if they'd asked. Come to think of it, my own husband originally knew me by my stage name and only switched to calling me by my real name after we started dating seriously.
Interestingly, my husband is known by everyone except his relatives and childhood friends by a stage name he has used since he was in his early 20s. That's one of the reasons I didn't change my name when we got married: his real name doesn't mean anything to me and I only ever see it on legal documents.
Just when I'd given up on alternate band identities (not to mention the faux by-lines I often had at a small magazine, designed to make it look as though they had more writers than they actually did), along came the blogosphere. When I went to BlogHer last year, I had a difficult time deciding how to introduce myself. Am I myself or one of my blog identities? How do I smoothly include all those selves so that they'll be remembered together?
It can be rather exhausting presenting different faces to the world depending upon the situation. I used to compartmentalize my personality: I'd be one person at work, a slightly different person in my community service organization, and yet another person around my friends and bands.
Over the past few years, I've started to remove those distinctions. Now I'm pretty much just ME, in any setting. What you see (or read) is what you get.
How do the rest of you pseudonymous bloggers feel about the division between your blog identity and your real self? Do you use other names in other contexts, too? Are you the same person no matter what name you're using?