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Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Me, Myself and Still Me

At the advice of my outplacement counselor, I placed quotation marks around my name and Googled. The goal was to determine if Middle Passages comes up—at the moment this blog is the best ongoing advertisement of my writing skills. When I started writing here, it served as an immediate release from the emotions resulting from unexpected unemployment. At the time, discretion reigned and I used my first name only in my profile. Now, it's July; life continues to evolve and it’s time to market myself as a writer. To that end, I recently edited my Blogger profile to include my full name. Now when I Google, using my first name, my maiden name (which I use as my middle) and my last, my LinkedIn profile, an article in The Boston Globe Magazine, two articles in Adoptive Families Magazine and Middle Passages all pop up. Ta da.

When my April article appeared in the Boston Globe, it was the first time I advertised my writing with full force to my family. Before that time, for the most part, I kept my inner scribe behind the scenes and quiet, as if she were someone I didn’t trust enough to exploit. Then The Globe called and I figured that an article appearing in that publication gave me street cred, so I became more willing to share.

When my brother saw my byline, he assumed I used my maiden name as a tribute to my father, who’s been gone for five years but whose influence lives in each of us. Perhaps in some way my brother is right, but actually, I edited my name many years ago, after getting married, choosing my maiden name legally as my middle name. In my mind, when I promised myself to someone for the rest of my life, I did so under a different last name and I’m not about to leave that person behind--she lives in me and with me. In fact, she was the first one published, in high school art magazines and college newspapers; all those years ago she was the one who first expressed the desire to write. So she still gets credit. For as long as I have been creating and submitting pieces in a more professional capacity, my maiden name proceeds my married name in a byline.

However in my more recent “go to the office” persona, that maiden name was abbreviated to a middle initial, and this morning, curious, I Googled myself a second time—using my first and last names only. It’s intriguing to me that in addition to the accomplishments of a high school runner from Connecticut with the same name, I found a list of my former career credits--memberships to certain recruitment groups, a business award, and again, my LinkedIn profile. None of my published articles appeared. It is as if I have been two people, which indeed, is how I feel lately.

There was the professional recruitment manager, poised, experienced and sure. Then there was the Saturday morning writer, passionate, earnest, and sincere, but lacking the confidence that practice and exposure builds. Of late the two personalities are merging into one. Someday soon, I hope, Google will reveal an experienced, poised, passionate and sure business writer, with the street cred to fill your need. Finally, one blended person.

But she’ll still write under three names.

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