I have had an input to Narrowboat World (NBW) as a regular contributor for a while now. I recently wrote the Aylesbury Lock 12 piece you see below for NBW. They wrote to me and asked my real name before they would publish the article. I have refused. A quick search of NBW shows Maffi appears no les than 19 times. It is a pointless thing to by-line my writing with my given name (I have never liked it). No body that knows me on the water knows me as anything else but Maffi! A few friends know my given name but never use it. Any one asking for P….. R…… would be met with blank stares.
NBW say it is policy to use authors full names to follow articles. This is surprising because Victor Swift is not a real name neither is Richard Swan. So I wonder why is it so important for my name to be my real name. Would it not be better to publish my stuff as Maffi (as I publish everything I write on line) so people know who wrote it, The editor of Canal Boat doesn't seem to have a problem with it. A lot of writers use a pseudonym it is common practice it is not illegal, indeed George Elliot was one Mary Anne Evans. It was a common practice after the war for German writers to use English names.
I like Maffi, I am comfortable with it. If you walk into my local and callout James maybe a half dozen guys will answer, but if you call out Maffi a number of people may ask Oh is he here? There is only one Maffi, me and if I told you my given name was Jonathan Deveraux what would be gained? Nothing, absolutely nothing! If you want to find me google Maffi and you will find me. If you don’t want to find me google Marcus Donovan and you will not find me. I do have a habit of letting the family down so to protect their privacy Maffi detaches me for any ‘connections’ I may have.
I cant help wondering what their agenda is at NBW. There is nothing to gain from this knowledge. The fact that the editor and a columnist write under assumed names only makes their request totally hypocritical.
Besides when you write as badly as I do its best not to use your real name, you never know who’s out there reading.