New Year, New Name

Greetings and salutations!

If you’ve visited my blog before, you might notice a change on the top banner. It’s a big but subtle difference: I changed my name.

I would say that I’m currently using my real name, but I’ve been using variations of my given name since I’ve began writing and publishing in 2004. This year I’ve decided to go by my first name, for a few reasons.

One reason is to simplify my relationships. Some people would know me by one name, others by another; I live in a medium sized city with an insular artist community, and the groups of people who know me under different names would often overlap.

Another reason is because the original purpose for using a pen name (for privacy) is unnecessary. People haven’t been checking for me in a negative sense or to do me harm or to doxx me or anything. In fact, even with the pen name it wasn’t that difficult to discover what the A stands for.

Finally, I’ve began to love my name again. From my days in elementary school to the present, people would often mispronounce my name. They’ll add letters and call me Antonio or Anthony, anything but my name, even after I corrected them. I got fed up with being unheard and started going by A. J. I eventually started feeling resentment towards my name. But really, my name is pretty awesome. If folks can’t pronounce it, that’s on them and has nothing to do with me–and I refuse to respond to a name other than my own.

I’ve already changed names on this site, my blogs and social media. I still have business cards and personalized stamps under A. Jarrell Hayes, so it’ll be interesting using them. Current published books will remain with the same authored name; new works in both fiction and poetry will be under my first name going forward. Thanks for sticking with me through this transition.

Words = Life