Wednesday, January 2, 2013

...And now, for the reveal

I have a confession to make. Rachel is not my real name.

At this point, a fair number of my readers might be rolling their eyes and thinking, "So what? It's not like my real name is robstenforever69." And others might be wondering why I'd bother to create a pseudonym in the first place. The world of classic film blogging is not exactly a den of dark secrets and false identities (Except if you stumble across the Rudolph Valentino fanbase--those guys don't mess around). You'll have to bear with me since as small as this confession seems on the surface, it's an important decision for me.

Back in September 2009, I had it in mind to start a blog about the classic movies I loved. Few of my friends or family shared my interest and I wanted an outlet, a place that actually cared more about Cary Grant than Adam Sandler. A place where I could let off steam. 

So I did what a lot of aspiring bloggers did. I snapped up a blog, gave myself a name that was unlikely to lead back to my offline self, toyed with what to write, and ended up writing nothing at all. My life got busy, I got distracted, and the blog was stillborn.

But then, over a year later, I ventured back to The Girl with the White Parasol. Life had slowed down again and I was feeling at loose ends. I felt I had nothing to lose by going back. So I posted a review of I Walked with a Zombie. Then I wrote a little more. And more. I started commenting on other people's blogs as "Rachel," trading jokes back and forth. I got a few followers. There's a great freedom that comes to writing when you can say to yourself, "This is just for fun." The only standard was my own. If I made typos or made stupid puns or wrote something that flopped, who cared? And if I ever did go on to write something professionally, at least I wouldn't be haunted by anything from my silly blog.

I feel that once you put your name to something, it becomes a responsibility. It means you're willing to risk something. And you know what? I've had this blog for years. I have over a hundred followers now (Thank you guys, for that wonderfully timed Christmas present). I've met brilliant people who've changed the way I think about film and art. I've read the saga of Penelope Trunk and her own travails with writing under a pseudonym.  I've talked about this blog with friends and family and coworkers who've all told me, with varying degrees of puzzlement, "Why don't you ever let people see it?" They're right. I think my blog is worth a little risk. In the long run, I want my blog to be something that made me a better writer, a deeper thinker, and a happier person. And I'm tired of putting another name to something that I'm proud of.

My name is Aubyn Eli. I'm called Aubyn. It rhymes with "robin." I'll be putting it to my posts from now on.

And what does this dramatic reveal mean for my blog? Not much. I'll still be the same person. I'll still blog about old movies. I'll still believe in Alfred Hitchcock, Barbara Stanwyck, Technicolor, Edith Head, Humphrey Bogart, the obvious superiority of Sunset Boulevard over All About Eve, and the importance of a good exit line. I'll still love The Magnificent Seven more than The Seven Samurai. And I'll still keep looking for the girl with the white parasol.

Thanks for the support you've given me all this time, guys. If I can still get away with toasting the new year, here's to a happy 2013!


  1. Well, hello Aubyn! I'm a fan, whether you use your actual or pen name. But it's nice to get to know you a little bit better...

    My real name isn't The Lady Eve - that's another tale which you just might've inspired me to tell at my own blog some day.

  2. Welcome Aubyn, and good for you! Why hide?
    Happy New Year!

  3. Nice to meet ya, Aubyn! Beautiful name for a beautiful blogger. A bunch of my friends still don't know about my blog, I should change that at some point. (Might help if I write something once in awhile). Kudos for the reveal! Fine way to star the new year.

  4. Nice to meet you, Aubyn is such a beautiful and unique name!

    I was surprised to discover that so many bloggers use pen names. I've always uses my real name (though I've never revealed my last name, and my first name - Lindsey - is quite common). I completely understand where it comes from, though. I've mentioned my blog to family and friends but have only actually showed it to three people that I know in the real world!

  5. I love the sound of Aubyn (perhaps because I'm the mother of a Robin?) Will your next post be about why you picked Rachel for a pen name? I'm curious!

  6. A rose by any other name...

    So pleased to meet Aubyn. It feels like an extra bond of trust is created among us classic movie bloggers.

  7. Hi Aubyn!

    Very nice to meet you. : ) It's a beautiful name and a very touching post.

    Happy New Year to you!

  8. Thanks for sharing this information Rachel - I mean Aubyn. For some reason I started out with my real name - probably because it's hard enough keeping track of who I really am.

  9. Whether you be Aubyn or Rachel, I've always enjoyed your blog and it's a pleasure to have someone to share classic film with!

  10. Happy New Year, Aubyn! I admire your revelation, but admire your insight on classic film even more. That's why THE GIRL WITH THE WHITE PARASOL has been on my blog reading list for so long. Hey, you had me with the line about preferring MAG 7 over SEVEN SAMURAI!

  11. Everyone: Hi guys, I apologize for not being around to respond promptly to all your comments but I wanted to thank you for being so supportive and sweet. I think there are pros and cons to the whole pen name thing and every situation is different. I do like my real name but its rather unusual nature means that I can't really blend in the way a Kate or a Rachel or an Anna can. And Rick, I am very happy to meet another Magnificent Seven fan. Sure, Samurai is the first and greatest and all that (she said with a sigh) but Magnificent Seven is such pure joy from start to finish that I can't resist it. I will admit though, that the American film does lack Toshiro Mifune and I do love his performance as the would-be samurai.

  12. A belated Happy New Year, Aubyn!

  13. Another belated Happy New Year! Thanks for sharing a bit of yourself with us, and here's to more wonderful blogs in 2013!

  14. nice name Aubyn!!
    By the way..i am useing a fake name too so......:)