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Weekly Wrap: Our Disguises

By Posted on 10 3 m read 1.2K views

Couple things before I get to the Weekly Wrap:

Thanks to those who pointed out that the link to Green-Hand singing Bob Dylan was broken. It’s all fixed now.

And did someone ask how Steve the greyhound is doing?

He’s feeling pretty relaxed these days. Thanks for asking.


I was thinking, since we focused on a kids’ book this week, that it might make sense to view the word “alias” in kids’ terms. You know: masks, capes, and other disguises.

As many of you know, Mr. Henderson is a costume designer for plays and movies. But he’s been known to whip up some fun Halloween costumes, too. He’s made tree frogs, monkeys, dwarfs, Mad-Eye Moody, and more. Here are some little pirates, big pirates, and hobbits:

And here are a few Green-Hand came up with himself. I especially like how he accessorizes with a tape measure and red ruby slippers:

The main thing I notice when my kids are in costume is that they walk and talk differently. The disguise frees them somehow to find a voice and a mannerism that’s bolder than their own. Maybe this is why many of us write under pen names: we are freed to be bold.


Thank you to my readers for sharing your stories about aliases – Amy, who plans to choose a more exotic and memorable twist on her name when she sells her book; Lauren, who was asked by publishers to simplify her name but has chosen to use her real name, though it’s hyphenated, and difficult to pronounce; Jim, who once used a pen name to keep his humorous writing separate from his identity as a brilliant engineer; Myfanwy, who used to publish under her middle name to limit conflicts at work; Aimee, who uses her own name because she’s earned the glory; Greg, who’s used a whole slew of pen names; Gail, who often uses a name similar to her own, but just unique enough so she’s the only one and so her kids can’t track her down via Google; Megan, who uses the genius Epstein Barbie but will choose another pen for her more serious writing; Ellen, who writes under her maiden name so she can separate her writer identity from her mother/wife identity; Lance, who’s a big fan of modified spelling to help with Google-ability; Betsy, who uses the formal name given on her birth certificate; Sarah, who has used pseudonyms for every reason from collaborating, protecting her privacy, and to offer something simpler and easier to spell to her readers; Carolyn, who may give herself a name with more character to it once her book is sold; Noria, who almost changed a single letter in her name to create a buffer between herself and her family; n.l., who likes to toy with celebrity names and puns to add a humorous punch to a name; Mikel K, who changed his name as a reaction to his dad’s lack of support and as a show of self-determinism; Kathy, who could create a cool anagram of her name but thinks her dad might be proud to see her real name gracing the cover of a book; Kasper, who uses many different pen names when he writes his comic books; Kevin, who says his name is “the first title given to me. I don’t think changing the title will make a book better;” Joe, whose fictitious name for his ficticious job as food critic helped to keep him fed; and Aurelio, who uses his “nom de plume” so readers don’t expect his books to reach the same audience as his (way-cool and well-known) movies.

Thank you, of course, to Bach-Boy for being such a careful reader, for loving books so dearly, and for being such a big-hearted soul. And thank you to Lemony Snicket, whose book is out TODAY! Go fetch it and tell me what you think.

If you can’t get enough of all things Lemony, there’s a great interview on NPR today.


Frank Daniels’ Lit Riot tomorrow, and he’s taking on the James Frey controversey in his usual, direct style. And here’s just a glimpse of who will be here next week:

Have a great weekend, everyone!

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  • Myfanwy Collins
    October 13, 2006

    Your children are so adorable, Susan. Love all of the costumes very much. Thanks for another great week.

  • Lance Reynald
    October 13, 2006

    that’s one hell of a wrap…..
    a lot of people in the park this week!

    I am so doing Halloween at your house from now on, and isn’t GH just following fashion and costuming’s oldest rule…..a tape measure goes with everything?

    and Steve looks great!!!

    have a great weekend Susan! xo-L.

  • Robin Slick
    October 13, 2006

    Hahahaha – to the tape measure belt and ruby slippers, and especially to Steve the dog. I have a similar photo of my Monty and one horrified reader actually wrote to me and asked “You let your dog on your FURNITURE?” as if the sofa is something sacred.

    Yeah, I do let the dog on the sofa, and guess what, I let people eat on it, too. Christ. Who the hell cares about material goods? I want people/dogs to have fun and be relaxed when they’re in my home…that’s what life’s about.

    Sue, I just want to take this opportunity to thank you profusely for sharing the agony of listening to that horrible on line streaming public radio show yesterday just to hear my son’s name mentioned. You’re a true pal. You can’t believe why Eric did not show up to the station on time. Air Force One with our illustrious idiot President was in the air and landing at the same time so they made Eric’s plane fly in a holding pattern for thirty minutes before they could land as well. Eric said it was pure torture…lucky I wasn’t there or I might not have stayed quiet and would probably be front page headlines right now.

    Have a great weekend.


  • Megan
    October 13, 2006

    It looks like Steve is settling in and getting comfy in his new home.

    Maybe I don’t need to change my last name, maybe I just need a really cool pirate costume to wear while I write.

    And I hope to see more interviews by Bach Boy in the future. I like his style.

  • Aurelio
    October 13, 2006

    Can I borrow Mr. Henderson this halloween? Those are some serious-cool costumes! (And if he’s not available, maybe Green Hand can help out?)

    I’ll have to show you the picture of me dressed up as Mount Rushmore one Halloween. Ha!

    Both of my names/aliases thank you for being so supportive and informative with us, your fellow writers. I’m glad to be home again and reading Lit Park every day!

  • Carolyn Burns Bass
    October 13, 2006

    I’ve always found Halloween costumes and all things masquerade exactly as you’ve described them, Susan. A couple of my favorite costumes as a child was a gypsy and a hippie. I think there’s a bit of both in me. My favorite costumes from my children’s younger days were my daughter as an ambulance-chasing lawyer and my son as dred pirate Roberts from The Princess Bride.

    Your kids must be the best-dressed Halloweeners in town. What fun.

  • Susan Henderson
    October 13, 2006

    Myf and Lance – Thanks!

    Robin – I would be so depressed if my animals didn’t come up on the couch or the bed.

    Megan – Yes! Try typing in a pirate costume!

    Aurelio – I need to see that photo. Maybe I’ll show it on Halloween. This year Mr. Henderson is going to make them up in scars and bruises and rotting flesh.

    Carolyn – The Princess Bride is one of my favorite movies ever!

  • Sarah Roundell
    October 13, 2006

    Another great Weekly Wrap, Susan. Thanks for taking the time each week to make all of us feel involved in The Park and I look forward to next week’s question.
    I hope everyone who visits the park, whether they make themselves known to the rest of us or pass through quietly, has a great weekend!

  • Claudia
    October 14, 2006

    Thank you for these great pictures. They put me in the mood for Halloween, raking leaves, and watching my two year old pretend. This year, he’s going to be a lion. He told me himself.
    I write horror under the name “Cordelia Snow” – because an alias is fun. And because when I was a child, those were two of my pretend names.

  • n.l. belardes
    October 16, 2006

    I wrote what I wrote for Bach-Boy. Everyone else seemed to just be patting him on the head.

Susan Henderson