For the past six years, I’ve written under the penname R.G. Summers. I’ve had many reasons for doing so. Initials are nice because it prevents people from assigning a gender to your writing immediately, something I thought would be valuable as a woman going into science-fiction. Thinking that I would someday get married and change my name, I didn’t want to start publishing under a name I wasn’t going to keep. I wanted to pay homage to my favorite character in literature, Robin Goodfellow, and took those initials because writing always made me feel like an impish creature, magically and puckishly flinging people together as I caused and resolved the conflicts of my characters. When I self-published my first book, I was only seventeen, and I was quite certain I needed to invent an identity that would be grownup and taken seriously.
However, it occurred to me the other day that I am grownup. I also realized that while I did have some very valid reasons for wanting to use a penname, some of the primary reasons I was using the penname were actually kind of bad.
Writing has always been a coping mechanism for me. As Mario Vargas-Llosa said, “Writers are the exorcists of their own demons.” My stories have been my attempt to put down all my dreams and nightmares on paper. Lately though, all my dreams have been being realized and my nightmares have receded into the dark fog from which they came. For years, I was a tremendous secret keeper, only letting them out to bleed onto paper and be passed off as fiction. I’ve stopped keeping secrets though, and it’s really liberated me. A lot of the issues that I thought I was just going to “have to deal with” through life have become infinitely more manageable after discussing them with others.
I’m realizing now how much effort I went to in order to distance myself from, well, myself. In retrospect, using a penname was as much about hiding from my past and disowning my feelings as any professional goal. I feel like I’ve tried to wedge myself into two different people, and that’s finally starting to fall apart. I’m tired of trying to be another person in addition to myself.
So long story short? I’m dropping the penname. I need to focus on some of the lower-level Maslow’s Needs and find myself…something that is incredibly hard if you aren’t even sure what your name is. R.G. Summers had a great run, and it’s really neat to have unified all my juvenilia under that one name, but as I move forward, I’m going to move forward as Audrey Joy Greathouse. I don’t know what the future of my writing looks like, especially after all the ups and downs of the past year, but I know I’ll balance everything in a way that keeps me happy and lets me tell stories. Thanks for coming along for the ride. It’s not without due deliberation that I make this choice. I hope you’ll continue to follow me as I transition back into Audrey Greathouse.
I think it’s a nice name anyways.