The Thinking of Speaking
Issue #26 March / April 2017
Letter From The Editor
Nom de Plume
by Erik Zidowecki
March / April 2017 | 

Have you ever written something before and wanted others to read it, but didn't want them to know you wrote it? Maybe it promoted a view you didn't want others to know you had or wasn't the sort of thing you normally wrote and you didn't want people to think of you as writing it.

This isn't unusual. There are many reasons for wanting to keep your name off a publication. But what name do you put on it then? When you put a name that isn't your real one on something you wrote, it is called a "pen name".

This has been done by some of the most famous authors in history. You might not even know they were using a pen name. Some well-known ones are Mark Twain, which was what 19th-century American humorist, author, and lecturer Samuel Langhorne Clemens used for most of his writing. Another one is Lewis Carroll, used by the English writer, mathematician, and logician Charles Lutwidge Dodgson. Even the great children's book writer Dr. Seuss was just a pen name for Theodor Seuss Geisel.

But did you know George Orwell was also a pen name? Molière? Voltaire? There is even speculation that the name of the eternal bard Shakespeare was used to publish others' works.

There is a fancy name, invented by the English but taken from French for pen names: nom de plume. It literally translates as "name of the feather", referring back to when writing was done with a feathered quill.

You have to admit, having a nom de plume sounds so much more sophisticated than just "pen name". It has that certain je ne sais quoi.

It also just happens to be the name of Parrot Time's new group for writers and staff. If you are interested in working with Parrot Time, you should join it and see what we are doing. You can even use a pen name.

Erik Zidowecki

Letter From the Editor - Nom de Plume
Writer: Erik Zidowecki
Petey: Quill and parchment

All images are Copyright - CC BY-SA (Creative Commons Share Alike) by their respective owners, except for Petey, which is Public Domain (PD) or unless otherwise noted.


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