I Am Iron Man
Posted on February 18, 2013
Alter egos have been a topic of conversation as of late between fellow author Dorien Grey and myself. There’s Dorien and there’s Roger, but where does one end and the other begin? Many authors use pseudonyms for various reasons. I had a need for privacy some sixteen years ago that would allow me to keep readers who discovered my writing persona away from the me/me. If they put the gay me together with the real me, it could lead them to my then-closeted boyfriend. So, Kage was born. Or rather he was realized and he’s taken on quite a bit more than I’d ever imagined he would. And as with Dorien/Roger, some have wondered where Kris ends and Kage begins.
I think some of you would be genuinely disappointed to learn that Kris tends to be shy, quiet, reserved, doesn’t like crowds, prefers to stay home, is terrified of speaking in public, rarely opens up unless it’s to those who he’s closest to, can resemble a very curious child in the way he views the world around him, takes things to heart, can be emotionally hurt, is the other half of his husband, and is responsible for taking care of his father while also helping out with his father-in-law-who-doesn’t-know-he’s-his-father-in-law.
Kage, on the other hand, is the prankster, the quipster, the one who navigates a crowd, the total tease, who can entertain, who takes over during book signings, speaks in public without fear or censoring himself, is blunt in his observations, shrugs off people who attempt to verbally annoy him, will sometimes make a wisecrack at Kris’s husband when playfulness becomes a little too one-sided, and who deals with Kris’s extended family. Kris cooks for himself. Kage has a plethora of staff who serve him quite badly, which he vents about quite frequently.
And yet, for all intents and purposes, these two drastically different personalities exist together in perfect harmony. Kage doesn’t take over merely because Kris doesn’t want to deal with something. Rather, Kris may not want to deal with something, but Kage takes the reins because he enjoys taking on those kinds of tasks, especially if it means annoying someone. He is the suit of armor Kris needs to bridge the gap between his private life and his public one.
Where we really shine together is in the writing. This is where two truly become one while working with our muse. That’s also when you can’t really tell us apart.
The Kage and Kris personalities are rarely really separate. One simply takes a back seat and lets the other do what needs to be done. Both are equally me and no, it’s not a disorder. Where things really started to get confusing was a few years ago when I attended a pre-party for our 20th high school reunion. Everybody there knew me as Kris, yet when I talked about my writing and they looked me up later, they started to use the names Kris and Kage interchangeably. The same happened with my college friends. And whatever anonymity I thought I had by using a pseudonym in the first place went right out the window. Fortunately, the husband is a tiny bit more out now than he used to be, so no damage done.
Speaking of the hubby, his friends have even gotten in on the action. Remember Miss Kim? She attended our wedding and there was a character loosely based on her in Andy Stevenson Vs… novel. Well, Kris and Kim get along fabulously. Kage and Kim? Total frenemies. They can’t wait to see what the other will do that secretly annoys them. Kris ordered flowers a week ago for Kim’s birthday and Kage wrote the card: “To our favorite truffle-loving She-Demon! Love and many hugs…”
Miss Kim is plotting her revenge. It’ll be on Kage, though, not Kris.
I have a drawing I picked up a couple of years ago while at a local convention. There’s an Alien head (the H.R. Gieger one from the film Alien) poking its head out from the left side of the picture towards the right, mouth open and about to strike. On the right and pointing his gun at it is Marvin the Martian. That’s Kage and that’s exactly what Kage would do and how he’d see himself if he suddenly woke up in an Alien film. He’d be the cartoon character taking on incredible odds of an actual horror movie and doing it all for the entertainment value of it.
That’s my boy.
See? In my own way, I really am Iron Man.
Kristoffer Gair (who formerly wrote under the pseudonym Kage Alan) is the Detroit-based author of Honor Unbound, A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To My Sexual Orientation, Andy Stevenson Vs. The Lord Of The Loins, Gaylias: Operation Thunderspell, several short stories featured in anthologies (to be combined in a forthcoming book), the recently re-published novella Falling Awake, its sequel, Falling Awake II: Revenant and Falling Awake III: Requiem.
9 Responses to “I Am Iron Man”
February 18, 2013 at 11:08 am
“He is the suit of armor Kris needs to bridge the gap between his private life and his public one.” Well said, Kris. Well said, Kris. It applies equally to me and many other writers who take refuge in two separate but intertwined personalities. It’s nice to know you both.
February 18, 2013 at 11:55 am
I never would have thought about it before had you not discussed it in your blog, D/R. And while some things shouldn’t be looked at too closely, this isn’t one of them. It’s a good thing to be able to recognize strengths and weaknesses, then see how they’re addressed and by who.
Diana Plopa says:
February 18, 2013 at 11:52 am
Thank you so much for explaining the virtues (and vices) of the pseudonym. I often am asked why to use one… or why not. You have cleared up the mystery quite well!
February 18, 2013 at 11:57 am
I’m sure much of it has to do with privacy. Some people have families who wouldn’t understand or approve of their work. Heck, my extended family doesn’t know about my books. I’m not scared of them, but I just don’t care to hear about it from them. Mine just happened to evolve into something a bit different and it suited me. =)
Patricia Logan says:
February 18, 2013 at 12:00 pm
You are a freak (only the best kind) no matter what you call yourself. Now…. hmmm… what to call you at conventions…. Oh… I’ve got it….”Dick”
February 18, 2013 at 3:38 pm
Well, one is what one eats…
Katherine T. says:
February 18, 2013 at 12:36 pm
Kris is the melding of all of the best of who you are and what you do. I have 2 very distict sides to me, as well, but no pseudonym for that “to heck with what the world thinks” side that maybe sometimes I could really use (to keep out of trouble). I just have it all wrapped up in one complicated persona. Luckily I have a few generous souls who take me as I am and love me regardless. How lucky I am.
Both your identities are what I find so endearing about you. I could tell straight off that they were a blend of the true you. Anr what a truly awesome blend it is! 🙂
Glad I’ve gotten to know you both.
February 18, 2013 at 3:39 pm
Awww! That’s the sweetest thing somebody has to me this month! Thank you, Katy. =)
Lloyd Songal says:
March 10, 2013 at 3:17 pm
As Dorien said, it’s nice to know you both, LOL, Kris. I did suspect as much, but it is very nice of you to share and give more insight to your personas. Thanks for sharing.