I have a theory: the internet encourages multiple personality disorder.
Over the years, I’ve paraded around the internet as many people. It began with the dial-up years. Hellfire rained over news broadcasts as they warned of child abduction after someone disclosed their real name ON THE INTERNET. Sages of local sports and weather forecasts wisely warned against using your name or anything resembling it on your AOL account, lest you find yourself kidnapped and murdered. We were immediately conditioned to adopt an alias for the internet.
At the time, I was hooked on ANIMORPHS. One of the alien creatures, a Hork-Bajir, was introduced as “Jara Hamee”. To this, a main character quipped, “Whoa, your name is Jeremy?” Which was my name, and that stuck with me because I was 11 years old. This scene came back to me as I racked my brain for something to call myself on-line. All my friends lovingly called me Germ, so I married the two and was born unto the internet as Germ Hamee.
Art from a friend of Germ Hamee. A surfer dude. Who lived in Colorado. Yeah, I was 11.
I maintained Germ Hamee for years, and this was pretty simple. Simple, until things got personal, and I felt the need to create another name for my on-line gaming persona. I couldn’t have my gaming friends read about my inner turmoil! For this, I decided on Reyn. Reyn Wilde.
Then, I started marketing myself as a writer. All my favorite writers wrote under pseudonyms, so it seemed natural for me to do the same. I tried J.N. Howell, but eventually settled on Nathan Trader.
This was wildly liberating.