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Well...this is awkward

Editorial by Ms. Doyle


 Imagine my surprise when I opened the Messenger week before last and read an editorial that said, “Ms. Doyle is insulting”. Of course, before my name was also listed Conrad Doyle, but… me? Insulting? I have yet to write one insulting word towards anybody in this paper. Some might point out that the author of that comment probably meant that he feels it is insulting that I write under a pen name and not under my legal name.  Let’s analyze this for a minute. When I approached the Messenger about writing within its pages, I conveyed a singular message: I want to help people. I’ve been through a lot in my life, and I’m not saying I know it all (because no one but the “Powers at Be” know it all), but I have been through a variety of hard lessons in life that could potentially help others in similar situations. In fact, the ultimate objective in my writing in the Messenger was to eventually start an advice column after I felt readers got to know me a little bit. Again, in my attempt to help people. I’ve written a total of about three articles in the Messenger. Each conveying a common theme—everyone needs to disconnect from technology, or their fast-paced lives, for a little while once in a while and enjoy things such as nature, their family, and the world around them.  Unless the person who wrote “Ms. Doyle is insulting” is hardwired to his computer, I really cannot see how I am insulting anyone.  Now, let’s circle back to the idea that perhaps this individual is offended that I am writing under a pen name. I would be inclined to ask this individual if they are offended by Mark Twain as well. Society only tends to have an opposition to pen names when they utterly disagree with the person writing the piece. It does not bother them that J.K. Rowling used a pen name to write the Harry Potter books. Nor do I think they would bash Lewis Carroll for not using his true name, Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, when he published Alice In Wonderland. I especially do not think the individual who insinuated I was insulting would ever criticize Theodore Seuss Geisel for using the pseudonym Dr. Seuss while he was writing and publishing children’s books. And if for whatever reason my editorial combatant was crazy enough to criticize Dr. Seuss, I would highly suggest he hide under a rock after he did so. Dr. Seuss fans are many and rather rabid in my opinion. Especially if they’re hopped up on candy the teacher gives them.  My point is, look back through history. No one cared if someone was writing under a false name if they agreed with the message that was being conveyed. Society plays it off for practical reasons then. “Oh, they just want to maintain their privacy.”  “They’re humble and don’t want the attention.”  Or in Dr. Seuss’ case, “They can’t pronounce my real name, so let’s give them a fake one that’s easier to say.”  Whatever their reasons, they were left alone. If the average joe did think that author was writing under a pen name, he didn’t care. Because who doesn’t like green eggs and ham? Everyone enjoys them, especially Sam I Am.  What people have not enjoyed through the years are the other reasons people have hidden behind a pseudo name. Take George Eliot for instance. He wrote fictional work with some serious political overtones about country life in Victorian-aged England. His story Middlemarch is celebrated for its realism and psychological insights. Eliot would eventually become known as one of the leading English novelists of the 19th century. One tiny problem with this story. HE was a SHE. George Eliot was in fact Mary Ann Evans, and she felt the need to write under a pen name to be taken more seriously as an author in those times. Why? Because at that time in history women were not meant for the more intellectual places. They were meant to run households, birth children, and know their place.  Modern day society looks back on that scenario and most of us shake our heads. We find it ridiculous that Mary Ann Evans felt the need to misrepresent herself to be taken earnestly in the book world.  So, she was a chick? What was the big deal?  According to Judith E. Harper, who wrote ‘Women During the Civil War: An Encyclopedia’, “Women writers were stereotyped as being brainy, selfish, unladylike, and unattractive.” Sheesh. If I had been a woman in the 19th century and known that was how I was going to be received, I would have pretended to be a man too.  My rather winded point to this article is thus: Who cares if Conrad Doyle or I use a pen name? We both have personal reasons for doing so. I’m not going to even try and articulate Conrad’s reasons for a pen name, but I will be blunt about why I wanted to write under a pen name. The reasons are two-fold: One: In the future I plan to write about life situations that were very hard for me. Things that are personal, and while I don’t mind using those situations to help others, I do not necessarily want the entirety of Meade County looking at me with sad eyes and whispering, “That’s her. The one that went through such and such”. Nor do I want things being said to my children.  I’m taking a giant leap of faith here Meade County. Please try to be understanding and respect my privacy.  Secondly: I have been monitoring the Conrad Doyle situation in the Messenger, and how it has spread through WMMG with Randy Johnson and the rest of Meade County. As far as I’m concerned, I’m Switzerland. Utterly neutral in that “is Conrad Doyle right or not?” argument. What I do respect is the right for Conrad Doyle to write under a pen name to protect his privacy. Unless he does something criminal, and so far he has not, it is nobody’s business who he may or may not be.  Perhaps Conrad Doyle is a woman! How scandalous would that be?  For me, not very much. Again, because Conrad Doyle has a right to his or her privacy while exercising their right first amendment right to free speech.  In the coming weeks, dear Meade Countians, I shall start telling you all a little more about me and some of the hard and painful life lessons I’ve learned. I hope you’ll enjoy them. Most importantly, I hope my stories reach out and help anyone who might need it.  What I am pretty sure of though, is that you will see that both me, and my stories, are far from insulting.

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