The novel I ghostwrote earlier this year will be published soon, under pseudonym. Today I learned what that pseudonym is to be. It’s a strange feeling, acquainting yourself with someone who doesn’t exist … yet who is in many respects your own self. Like looking into a mirror and seeing a stranger staring back.
The pseudonym is anonymous, so if you pick up the book you won’t know it’s me behind the curtain. That’s okay. I didn’t write the thing alone – I was just the blunt instrument wielded by the editorial team in order to excavate the prose like precious ore from unyielding rock. Still, I do feel some sense of ownership; the character in the mirror might not look quite like me, but there’s a passing resemblance. A second cousin, maybe.
It’s tempting to present this pseudonymous personality as a kind of Frankenstein’s monster – a chimera fabricated from aspects of the various individuals involved with the book’s creation. But the character in the mirror doesn’t look monstrous to me. On the contrary: this fictional writer of fiction seems to possess a certain elegance. There’s an engaging twinkle in the eye, a mirthsome twitch in the lip. I know this person, and this person knows me. There’s a shiver-down-the-spine kind of familiarity to the whole encounter. It’s spooky.
Well, why wouldn’t it be? After all, I’m looking at a ghost.