Longtime readers probably were familiar with this vague but singular Gravatar which accompanied all my blog posts and blog comments:
It’s a picture of the hickory tree in my back yard. The “MT” stands for Minnesota Transplant. Everything I wrote was “by Minnesota Transplant.”
That’s the persona I adopted in cyberspace. On WordPress and on Twitter, I was simply Minnesota Transplant. No one called me “Minnesota,” a la “Zombieland,” in the real world. Usually, when someone who knows me as “Monica” mentioned my name in a comment, I would delete or change my name to Minnesota Transplant. I don’t post pictures of me. I was hiding, to some extent, behind a mask (even on Twitter, I wore sunglasses in my Gravatar). I stand behind the opinions I espoused (mostly safe, Minnesota Nice sort of proclamations, unless I was talking about the Yankees or the Chicago White Sox), but I didn’t assign my real name to those mostly safe perspectives.
I wasn’t fooling anyone. If you know me, you know I love blogging and you probably read my blog occasionally just to be polite (or maybe you liked it — thank you much — or maybe you liked it because you know me) and you know very well that Minnesota Transplant = Monica Lee. And if you don’t know me, you probably couldn’t care less what my name is. And if you’re the stalker type who doesn’t know me but for some creepy reason cares what my real name is, you probably figured it out already.
About a year ago, I started another blog with my real name on the premise that if I become an author, there’s no point in hiding behind a pseudonym. Then I started a third blog about enjoying family photos. Since I’m attempting to build a business, my real name was on that blog, too. I was happy to lead parallel lives in cyberspace, but slowly, slowly, my real name started seeping into my virtual reality.
A month ago, I decided to self-publish my memoir. Of course, I’m quite proud of it, so I want to tell everyone about it.
Only half the virtual world doesn’t even know who “Monica Lee” is. How confusing. All these years of obscuring my identity, coming to a head. How inconvenient.
A few days ago, I changed my WordPress Gravatar. That’s really a picture of me, but I wasn’t really featured in a magazine; why be completely forthright, right? I made this cool profile photo on Photofunia. Check it out — you, too, can have your photo on a billboard or work of art.
Now my email subscribers are receiving blog posts written by “Monica Lee.” Who’s that? Well, it’s me, Minnesota Transplant, the former Minnesotan transplanted to a tiny suburb outside of Chicago.
This blog will continue to be my platform for writing about all things trivial and interesting to a former Minnesotan. But I shall claim authorship as Monica Lee.
Have I clarified who’s who and what’s what? Well, if not, you may proceed in your state of unaffected confusion — why mess with a good thing?
This is Minnesota Transplant, signing off.