what’s in a name?

On WritingFor years I wrote under a name other than my legal name. I made it a point, however, to never refer to it as my ‘pen name’. Names mean a lot to me–my own, as well as my characters’. I’ve always felt the name ‘Dex’ is a lot more than a pseudonym. It’s a very real part of me. A part I’d kept hidden for years.

There is darkness in Dex. Chaos, too. Wild abandon. Dex isn’t afraid to say what he thinks, or challenge traditionally held views, or cuss like an eloquent sailor. I don’t know that I could have written The Kinter House stories almost three years ago, but Dex reveled in the morbid subject matter, cackling while he spun a particularly twisted tale. I would have tamed it. He set it free.

Of course, right about now the non-writers are thinking, “But you are Dex.”

And I am. But I’ve had to grow for that statement to be 100% true. When I started this humble site, it wasn’t. I didn’t have the courage to put myself out there, which is part of why I opted for a name no one in the ‘real world’ would recognize. It was easier. It didn’t involve as much risk. It was the safe route.

Yes, I could keep using Dex’s name. No doubt about that. But I’m at the point that I no longer need to.

As I transition to using my legal name–well, initials and my surname–I want to say thanks to Dex. For five years he stood strong when I couldn’t. He took hits. (Anyone remember the fight I picked with a self-published author that blew up far bigger than I expected? Don’t bother searching for the posts. They’re gone now.) He said the things I was too scared to say. He taught me how to unleash myself on the inside, a trick every writer must learn. And he did it all while showing me how to be like him.

He’s still around, lurking in the shadowy corners of my mind. Sometimes I catch sight of him. He’s always grinning, which I take as a good sign.

But he’s no longer on the front lines. I’m using my own name, and I’m not the least bit afraid to do so, even when people give me weird looks, or hate a story I love, or object to my fondness for colorful language. Like I said, I’ve grown, and Dex helped.

Unconventional as it may be, I want him to know I’m grateful.


About Ash Martin
Ash Martin writes dark fantasy and horror, has a thing for classic monster legends, Nordic mythology, coffee, and sarcasm, and is currently working on multiple books.

5 Responses to what’s in a name?

  1. Names are vital. While we don’t get to choose our own, we do get to grow in or out of them and I think having the strength to do either is a sign of strength and commitment.

    Here’s to the new you.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Umm, the 2nd strength was supposed to be confidence. LOL

    Liked by 1 person

  3. P. C. Zick says:

    i missed the transition, A.R. Almost didn’t click on the new name in my mailbox. But now I know better!

    Liked by 1 person

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