Saturday, September 11, 2010


still on that pseudonym talk. this week, frank hinton from metazen

I write under a pseudonym for a few reasons. I think the main reason is that I don't like my actual name. It's kind of like, nobody thinks Walter Willison is bad ass so he became Bruce Willis. The problem is that I don't even really like my pseudonym because I'm worried about people thinking I'm some kind of S.E Hinton fan or something.

I do treat Frank as a persona. I kind of think of it as a sort of meta-metafiction where I'm trying to look at/ understand what writing is and what being a writer is by not just writing about a writer who is writing, but by kind of trying to authentically create fiction as a fictitious person, if that makes sense. At least that’s how things started. Now I’ve become so comfortable writing/ befriending other writers as Frank that I feel that part of me is actually authentic. I don’t have any friends that are writers in my real life so meeting other writers as Frank has nourished me. I didn’t know how important it was as a writer to connect with other writers.

I think it's interesting how writers with pseudonyms hide themselves. I mean, I think I've seen xTx's body. She's shown it in dim light. Finnegan Flawnt didn't "come out" until he retired, even to me and he was an editor for my site...I heard his voice and nothing more. He turned out to be a god damned German physics prof. I think with me there are a lot of people in my world who would be shocked if they knew about Frank Hinton and there would be a lot more people who would be shocked in Frank Hinton's world if they knew I was Philip Seymour Hoffman.

I don't write anything as myself. I think because I've kind of established whatever my online presence is, the first thing I do when I write is drop a lot of the bullshit I carry around with me day to day and write as Frank. I use a lot of stuff from my actual life in my writing, but using it as Frank feels truer to me. I don't know why that works though. I also tend to keep swinging around on the gender pendulum. Being a man or a woman is kind of something you can give up when you came out of the birth canal onto the internet. I think people who actually know me as Frank Hinton know me, but for readers I don’t want them to pin me down right away.

My veil will never come back. I'll be wearing a yeoniptal at AWP. Or I'll send someone else. Or I'll go as me and say I'm someone else. I won't be there.

If my identity were revealed it wouldn't be the end of the world. I would probably disappear and then simply start to rebuild all over again as something else. I think I’m pretty forthcoming with people one-on-one. I just think that when you’re writing and trying to share your stuff with others it’s nice to have some kind of glitz on you. I appreciate those chicks that put sparkles on their tits before they go out to the bar.

I don’t think I’ll switch my name or anything. I’m pretty comfortable using Frank Hinton. I’m more comfortable with nobody knowing who I am. If I can explore my own loneliness and perversions and fears from behind this weird wall my writing feels truer. I can put myself out into the world as less of a definable person and more in terms of my own feelings and emotions. You get my personality without having to see the pimples on my ass.

Frank Hinton lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia and edits the daily fiction journal metazen. Frank has been published in decomP, > kill author, Dogzplot and a number of other publications.

Friday, September 3, 2010


xTx in part ii of the pseudonym-talk:

Being as specific or broad as you like, what are your reasons for writing under a pseudonym?

My pseudonym really was just a sort of on purpose accident.  I discovered blogging back in 2002 and it was really EVERYTHING I had ever wanted to do with all the randomness I constantly had fucking up the insides of my head, basically, an open diary to the world where I could just put it all out there.  However, due to the things I found myself blogging about, primarily sex, porn and masturbation, and because people actually started reading my blog, I soon realized that I could get into ‘trouble’ if anyone from my real life found out.  I stopped using my real name and, for a completely uninteresting reason, started blogging under xTx.  

As the years went by, my daily blogging turned more into daily prose, poetry and little crazy stories and so by the time I discovered there were online lit zines that featured such things, I had already felt a complete identity as xTx and so that’s what I started submitting under.  Also, I was still afraid of ‘getting caught’ by anyone in my real life.

xTx is completely fear based.

For you, is it about getting into the skin of another persona?  Or is it more or less that you’re able to use the name as just that, a name, that allows you to unmask something in yourself?

The latter, but again, the reason is strictly fear based.  It is not to unmask anything.

Did you make a conscious decision between oh, I’ll work under a pseudonym but people can see my face (like Sam Pink) or I’ll remain completely in the dark, physically, while maintaining only a print/online presence?  Were there particular reasons for this?

The latter, primary reason being my face would result in being identified in real life.  The secondary reason being, I hate my face.

And, Sam Pink’s real name isn’t really Sam Pink?!?!? WHAT?!?!?! 

Do you write creative work (even if not for publication) under your regular name and is there a difference between that work and the work under your pseudonym?

I’ve only written and been published under xTx.  I am not sure if there would be a difference in my writing if I started writing under my real name.  I am scared there might be, at least in some aspects of my writing, primarily my poetry and prose because I tend to write some pretty, um, ‘hardcore shit’ when I go poetry/prose, in that, it’s usually a lot closer to home for me. ‘Home’ being, what I am made of and a lot of what I am made of is pretty gross and disgusting.  I feel 85% sure I could share most of my fiction with people in my real life, but 3% sure I could share any of my poetry/prose because I am afraid it would change what people thought of me.

Is there ever a real fear/hope that, in your wildest imaginings, your work will take off and you’ll want to pull the veil back?

Yes, both fear and hope.

If your identity were revealed what are the best responses you could hope for from the lit culture?  The worst?

I really don’t care one way or the other what the ‘literary culture’ would think of my identity revelation.  Even on my bad days, I think I am a pretty cool person.  I think the ‘literary culture’ would probably want to have a beer with me, maybe play a game of horseshoes.  Again, my primary concern about reaction to my identity being attached to my writing is purely centered around people in my personal/professional life.  

All I want from the ‘literary culture’ is to like my writing, even if my name was Steven.  Even if my name was David.  Even if my name was Stacy.  Even if my name was Steven David Stacy.

Do you see a lifespan for your other persona or for yourself working under your pseudonym?

I never expected for my writing to be as well received as it has been.  I have been asked to do a few book things.  The book things will need to have a name on them.   I know that if I were to ever be ‘taken seriously’ as a ‘real writer’ in the ‘literary world’ I will probably have to drop my pseudo and use one with more vowels.  I realize that if I want to ‘seriously pursue my writing’ I will probably need to drop my pseudonym.  So, in terms of pseudonym life I guess I feel it is going to be a short lifespan.  I mean, I don’t think it would be a short lifespan if, eight years ago, I would have been smart enough to have picked a fake name that looked like an actual name and not one that is comprised of three consonants and looks like a dick and balls if you squint your eyes and turn your head sideways.  I do not always think things through.

xTx is a writer living in Southern California. You can find her writing in places like Monkeybicycle, Smokelong, decomp, elimae and others. She has a free e-book, titled Nobody Trusts a Black Magician at nonpress. She says nothing here