In the vast universe of writing, one’s name is as much a part of their identity as their literary voice. For many, the decision to adopt a pseudonym – or pen name – is a deliberate and calculated one. That brings me to my personal narrative with the name ‘M.S. Kaminsky’. Ah, the adventures and misadventures it has led me through!

Why M.S. Kaminsky?
The primary reason was simple: I wanted to erect a clear divide between my non-fiction and fiction pieces. In the early days, it felt essential to create that demarcation, allowing each body of work to breathe and establish its own identity without being overshadowed by the other. M.S. Kaminsky was meant to be my superhero mask, my alternate persona, who took over the reins when I ventured into the world of fiction.

Ms. Kaminsky? Not quite!
While the intention was clear to me, it led to an unintended comical twist. People began reading my name as ‘Ms. Kaminsky’. Depending on the day and my mood, this became a running joke or a mild annoyance.

The Unexpected Gender Dynamics
Here’s another curveball: the ambiguous nature of ‘M.S. Kaminsky’ means that readers often default to perceiving the author as female, especially when I’m writing strong female characters. And honestly? I consider that a compliment. The fact that readers feel a genuine, feminine touch in my narratives tells me I’ve done my characters justice, portraying them with depth, authenticity, and sensitivity. It’s a testament to the universal nature of emotions and experiences, proving that stories, in essence, transcend gender.

Weighing the Pen Name: Pros and Cons

Advantages:

  1. Separation of Worlds: Initially, this was the goal, and it worked. Readers could distinguish between the non-fiction musings and the fictional realms I crafted.
  2. Flexibility: Using M.S. Kaminsky gave me the freedom to experiment. There was a liberation in knowing that this ‘other’ name could take risks, could fail and try again.
  3. Privacy: A pseudonym, for many authors, provides a protective shield. It’s a way to maintain some semblance of personal space in an increasingly public world.

Disadvantages:

  1. Identity Mix-Ups: The ‘Ms. Kaminsky’ debacle is just the tip of the iceberg. There’s often confusion at book signings, interviews, or conventions.
  2. Missed Connections: Sometimes, readers who loved my non-fiction work missed out on my fiction, unaware that the same person penned both.
  3. The Gender Assumption Game: While I’ve embraced the gender assumptions, it can sometimes box an author in, leading to typecasting or misplaced expectations.

In Retrospect
Every choice we make has its ripples, and the decision to use a pen name is no exception. M.S. Kaminsky has been both a boon and a bane. It provided the sanctuary I needed, but sometimes, it felt like a mask that I couldn’t remove, even if I wanted to.

Would I make the same choice again? It’s hard to say. But every time someone praises a female character in one of my stories, thinking a woman wrote it, or jestingly calls me ‘Ms.’, I’m reminded of the journey, the learning, and the evolution that this name has bestowed upon me.

In the grand tapestry of a writer’s life, a pen name is but one thread. Yet, it’s a thread that can color the entire narrative in shades of joy, regret, humor, and introspection. M.S. Kaminsky is not just a name; it’s a chapter in my literary saga, one I’m still writing, one word at a time.