As you all (should) know, Ileandra Young is not my real name. Its the name I write under and the name that I answer to when hailed by very many people I haven’t yet met. In fact, even friends I have met still call me ‘Illy’ because that’s how I was introduced to them. Ileandra Young is the name I’ve used online for more years than I care to count and at one point, was even the name I wanted to make legally mine by deed poll. I didn’t in the end; I love my real name and wouldn’t change it for the world, but I just want to make clear how dear the name ‘Ileandra Young’ is to me.
That’s why I want to to point out that Ileandra Young is much less an alter ego than a simple nickname.
I was reading a great post by Kathryn over at 4am Writer (boy, was it a shock to realise how often I’m up at 4am!) and thinking about my ‘brand.’ I’ve discussed that in another post, but it made me think more about my pseudonym and how I treat it.
‘Ileandra Young‘ is my brand but its also my name. Its me; who I am. Never mind that I’ve given that name to various incarnations of roleplay character in the past (and novel character for that matter), she’s just me. I am Ileandra Young.
What I realised a short while ago, with vast amounts of pleasure, is that I (and therefore Ileandra Young) do still have an alter ego. I’m not talking about the various characters I play at LARPs or on The Ice Wolf Tavern, but a ‘version’ or ‘side’ of me that is unlike the me that everybody else knows. Very few people know about her, though the results of her labours have popped up on the blog in the past and since all the recent fuss about the Fifty Shades trilogy.
This is the me that writes the erotica. That giggles at porn on the internet when bored. That talks blithely about how lucky we girls are to be able to enjoy buckets of fun with a shower head (visit here for the post I was responding to and the comment that went with it). This is the me that cracks jokes about ‘rabbiting’ on Twitter before remembering that my mother can see my Tweet feed:
Anyway, this is the me that has no problem at all with embracing the ‘dirty/sexy’ (or the god-forbid, kinky) side of herself. What’s more interesting is I’ve known the name of this side of me for a very long time. She’s called Raven Shadowhawk.
In truth, Raven doesn’t come out all that often. She’s just there, bubbling away beneath the surface, occasionally leaving her mark on what I write while tackling something particularly passionate, emotional or sexual. Normally I don’t spot her presence until days/weeks/months later when I look at my work, read it through again and realise that she was there.
I’m not entirely sure what that means. Or what that says about me. O.o
When editing my erotica, I have to be in a slightly different head space to do it. I suppose its no surprise that I have to be in that same head space to write it too. There is a part of me, caged by the conformities of society, that is only ever freed when I need her. Raven certainly doesn’t pop out at work, or with my family, or with my friends (well… actually, she does with some of my friends!) and seems only to have a home when faced with a blank sheet of paper or an empty word processing document.
I’m sharing this because I want to tap into Raven a bit more as part of my other project and this seems like a good way of doing so. Obviously this ‘alter ego’ is not completely separate from me – I don’t have split personalities – but she is something of a caricature. A blown up, larger than life version of the sexed up me that doesn’t always have a home with the other genres I write (unless I’m tackling crossovers).
So… consider this hint #1. My ‘other project’ – I must find a better name for it – will involve far more of Raven and be a step away from vampires and high fantasy. We’ll be looking at erotica. ^_^