One of the great joys of writing a novel is that one can feel justified indulging one's interest in any passing curiosity, all in the name of research. In the last year I have made myself an expert in topics ranging from the history of Coney Island high school basketball to "pump and dump" penny brokerage schemes of the early nineties. Productive? Not really. But its better than looking at a cursor blink menacingly at you when you don't know what to write next.
Towards this end, I have spent much of the last week reading about the rock-glam-punk scene of the late sixties and early seventies. I am fascinated by the different ways women participated in the scene, either as artists (Patti Smith, Debbie Harry), as muses (Patti Boyd, inspiration for "Wonderful Tonight" and "Layla" by Eric Clapton) and as groupies. This last category with provided me with hours of distraction. If you have any interest in groupie lore I recommend I'm with the Band and Let's Spend the Night Together by Pamela Des Barres. Oh, the places she's been!
In any case, though I think I have mostly worked it out of my system, I had a small New York Dolls-Iggy Pop spasm today, when I came across the name of a world famous punk journalist, the man who claims to have been the first to coin the phrase, Legs McNeil.
Legs McNeil, I thought, what a name! And it got me thinking...being that I am basically unpublished (other than this blog, of course, and a short story in a teeny tiny Brooklyn literary journal), I can have any name I want! Legs Manaster would be amazing, but a bit copy cat. Plus, what if the book gets published and someone wants to interview me and the interview starts with, "Anyway, Legs..." How could I get through that?
Iggy Pop got his name by combining two nicknames. I've had very few nicknames in my life. Lonnie Manaster is lame. In high school I had a friend who called me Twiggy, a barely-guarded dig at my chubbiness. My friend Emily and I call each other Balki. Balki Manaster? Twiggy Manaster? None of them are as good as Legs...
Many people have called me by my last name. My boss, for example. I often refer to myself by my last name. As in, "Jesus, Manaster. Get it together!" I could be Manaster Manaster! Like Mister Mister, only stranger and harder to pronounce correctly.
Obviously none of these will do, so I am turning to you, my meager readership, to come up with a good pen name. Something zippy, provocative. The whole thing is a publicity stunt, after all, so best not to waste it.
What say you?