I’m writing during that particular time of morning when every speck of dust can be seen—dust on the tabletop, dust on the notebook, dust on the screen of my iPhone, dust on the cover of the book that’s beside me and so on. When dust is exposed like this it’s the light’s fault of course—it’s always the light’s fault—for dust would rather not be seen, to simply go on breeding and then to live simply, to live a life without fanfare like me.
It’s already one of those days when I’d really prefer to have a pseudonym, to answer to some other name than Thomas Fuller—maybe I could find my voice then. A name I could rub my finger over and say out loud in the dark privately, over and over until I actually became the person I’d named, a writer of course, a writer of intelligent adult fiction for intelligent readers of the same…though I’ve tried that voice with varying levels of success and failure.
Just yesterday a reader of my book Monsieur Ambivalence (2014) said he admired the contents and then asked, “is the female character Jane based on someone you know?” I thanked him for reading the book, then said that he was mistaken, though his mistake was an error in my favor in that his mistake revealed he’d read both of my books. “Jane,” I said to him, “is the female character in my new book, The Classical World (2018). Helena is the female character in Monsieur Ambivalence.”
Names, specks of dust perhaps when considering a person’s soul. What matters is character! Though the most withering testament on behalf of a dead man are the words, “he was a good man.”
I’m stuck with my name, for now, Thomas Fuller. It’s a name I can hold up to the light—and I often do, especially during those times I’m displeased with myself—and a name that sounds good in the dark when I say it to myself, “Thomas Fuller, Thomas Fuller, Thomas Fuller…” I confess that I do dream of pseudonyms, not knowing a writer who doesn’t at some point in his or her writing life, but am unable to conjure up anything better than the name, Thomas Fuller.