Intro to Melina Leigh :-s

Hello, and Welcome to my blog!  I thought I’d start with the ever so cliché “Get to know the Writer” Post.  Unfortunately, it cannot be avoided, so we might as well just jump right in! I promise to try to keep it short!

My name is Melina Leigh.

Except that it isn’t. Melina Leigh is a pen name.

Once upon a time, not so long ago, I had a blog under my legal name. I fully subscribe to the idea brought by Lorrie Moore, “Write something you’d never show your mother or father.” It’s great in theory. It’s a great approach, it’s freeing. You cannot truly write…you know, get down to the brass tacks of it all when you are hindered by the what if’s, the what will people think, by censoring yourself. I do my best to write “uncensored,” if you will, and was very happy with the results.

However wonderful an approach, however wonderful a theory, when you do not have the right support system, that sort of writing has potential to blow up in ones face. Without going into all of the gory, awful details, that is what happened to me.

I am very much aware that writing under a pen name flies in the face of everything that I just talked about. Know that I HATE it. But, since apparently, many of my topics are embarrassing, hurtful, and too graphic for my prudish family, it is the only way for me to put out the pieces that I want to put out. I have struggled with this for six or seven weeks; to me, if I could not write under my real name, there was no reason to write. I was not embarrassed by a single one of my posts, nor did I regret posting anything. But, they were, and since I tend to flee from conflict, I took it all down to keep the peace. It was a war I could not win, and as much as I hate how defeatist that is, it is truth. I have spent much of the last seven weeks deeply hurt and angry; wanting support for this endeavor, for this hobby I enjoy so much. I was unable to write, in fact, I could barely sit in front of the computer screen without bursting into tears, I was so devastated. Truth be told, I’m still having technical difficulties in the writing department.  This will be only the second piece I’ve finished in all that time, and this has taken far longer than necessary to write. But, I HAVE to write, I WANT to write…and, I have sought and found support elsewhere. I wish I had that familial support, and damn it, I should have it, but the reality is I do not. I have to deal with that, I suppose…and eventually I will. I must not let that get in the way of what I want. Look, I know that there is little chance of being “discovered” by a publisher, or whatnot, but in the short months of writing the first blog, I’ve begun to realize that self-publishing is a very viable option, and it’s something that I want to explore, if not tackle sometime in the future.  To do that, though, I must have a blog, I must start a network, so I will just have to do it as Melina Leigh.

All of that being said, I do not know the specifics just yet of what I will be doing with this blog. At the moment, I am working 60 or so hours a week, and am exhausted, so writing has unfortunately been what has suffered (as well as housework, and cooking, and a number of other things). I also may or may not have ordered a last minute Christmas gift that needs to be hand-stitched (Ok, I totally did…stupid crafting websites get me every time!) so I don’t know how regularly I will be posting.  The hope is to post every week or week and a half, but I do not know if that is realistic just yet.  Whatever I do, I can promise the writing will be true. I will write as I had been, with everything I have. It may get a little crazy along the way, but I hope you can enjoy this journey with me.


Posted on November 24, 2012, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 19 Comments.

  1. There’s a great documentary film about the Beat Gen. poets, THE SOURCE. You should check it out. In it, the filmmakers interview William S. Burroughs, and his brother, about the novel Naked Lunch. Now, mind you, at the time of this interview, Burroughs was an internationally acclaimed author and Naked Lunch had just been turned into a feature film, sort of. But his brother didn’t care. He called Naked Lunch filth, right there on camera.

    I think the look on William S. Burroughs’ face, when his brother said that about his book, I think the look on Bill Burroughs’ face in that moment will make you feel much less alone in your family struggles. I know I can relate.

    Just keep writing. Truth be told, you’re not having many technical difficulties in the writing department.

    Maybe this will help. Your prose reads smooth. You have a strong voice, personality, and you communicate those assets with interesting diction, a balanced sentence variety, and bold punctuation.

    If you wobble from time to time, it’s only because you’re so daring. So, it’s simple. Write more. Read a lot more. These things will work themselves out.

    And if the mask helps with the family issues, use it. At least you got to keep your gender, I’m assuming. Look at poor George Eliot.


  2. I don’t think there is anything wrong with using a pen name. Many famous writers have done so. It can be very freeing to just be able to write without the need to censor yourself for fear of offending a loved one.

    • I know that many folks have written with a pen name, I don’t think I realize just how many folks still do. It was just a slap in the face to be told that if I wanted to write a certain way I should either not post at all, or write under a pen name. I should have a better familial support system; I don’t think that’s too much to ask…oh wait, apparently, it is. Thanks so much for the comment though; I appreciate it!

  3. Write on the go. Write in cheap pocket notebooks. See how many pages you can fill with thoughts each day. Freewrite. Don’t think. Don’t judge. Don’t edit. Just write. Even if you just list images or make lists of people you can mash together into fictional characters, etc. It all counts. It all works out your writing muscles, builds your writing habit, ya know?

    • I have a notebook next to my bed, I keep my “To Do” lists in notebooks, and the back pages are filled with paragraphs and such, my netbook is with me most times, so I definitely do a lot of that. I’m having a bit of trouble finishing anything right now…it’s a combination of some tough subjects, and then having trouble getting into the proper mindset to write. This family thing has really thrown me. But, I am moving forward. Having a new blog is a good bit of motivation for me, so hopefully I’ll be back on track soon!

  4. I think Pat is right. Pen names can help. I’ve used one in the past. It’s just another writing tool, when you really think about it.

  5. Keep on keeping on! Keep putting pen to paper and in the words of the great Buzz Lightyear

    “Never give up, Never surrender.” 🙂

  6. I think it’s a shame your family can’t be more supportive. But if it gets your work out there, then that’s not a bad thing. I wish you the best of luck in writing what you want to write.

    • I am deeply hurt by that lack of support, it’s more than a little soul crushing. However, I’m more than a little amazed by the support I’m gaining elsewhere, especially from my writer friends. It’s touching.

  7. Don’t worry too much about using a pen name. Frankly, I’m more my pen name than my real name these days! The important thing is to be true with your words, not what you choose to be called. Just write and enjoy.

  8. northernlightsgal

    Sweetie, everyone on the planet has an opinion on everything. Follow your muse, as a newbie writer that’s what I’m doing. If you try to use everyone’s advice you’ll drive yourself stark raving mad. Whatever you choose to do, I support you-and good luck on your journey!!!

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