Yes indeed, what is the point of names? It sounds silly at first, so I must qualify the context. For a writer, is a name really relevant for you? After all, people read the text you publish, not the name you add on to things.
True, some people do organise their reading by authors, and thus names, but that’s exactly my point.
I’ve never found the reason to attach an actual, real name to anything I’ve written because it can subtly change the way people can view your work. The most important one is the argument of our goof friends Roland Barthes and Michel Foucault, who have fun deconstructing what our conception of an “author” is. In short, authors are looked to for textual authority and the “author” is more a persona that bears no reality to the actual person who wrote the text. Besides, they both say there’s no point in listening to the author because we’re reading the narration of a character in a book, not the author.
That’s why I don’t want to put my real name onto something I’ve written. When it’s an alias or pen-name (whatever term suits you) as long as it’s not a real name, I can let people know what I’ve written, but that’s all. You can’t really start asking what the author meant when all you have about the author is an arbitrary selection of words. I’m not there to provide any set way of reading something, because that just defeats the point of reading isn’t it? We all read in our own ways, we all interpret things differently.
But really I don’t want to put a real name onto my writing because I don’t want people to create an alternate version of myself. A version whereby I am only known for a single act of writing, and therefore being a writer. The author becomes this sort of being that people create for you as they read your work, and then they try to box you into that construction in real life. Your work then can become something oppressive, where you are being pushed by social consensus to preform a certain idealised role because that’s what people have come to interpret you as. It’s vain, but more importantly futile to think that you can understand the person who wrote a book by reading that work. Creativity has a capacity to throw up random results without warning. And be warned, I am one of those writer types who just sits down and has ideas hit continuously as I write. There’s no plan planned, it just seems to end up in some order. Somehow.
That’s my feelings about it. I realise someday I am going to have to put my name to my work, but until then.