So, there we are then. It's been a long process but I've finally decided to change everything - I am no longer Anton Vowl at all. Not here, not on Twitter (I am @stebax), not anywhere. It's all finished. Anton Vowl can go and join the other fictional characters* and I can finally step out of the shadow a little bit more.
I don't know how that makes me feel, really. I feel a couple of things. I feel relieved that it's done; but a bit sad that it's finished. It's been a big part of my life, writing under another name, and now I feel the time is right to say that I really enjoyed that, but that I'd rather be writing under my own name now. It may seem completely insignificant to everyone but me; or you might be horrified that I've decided to change - I just don't know. But it's something that needed to be done. There was something difficult about keeping a duality of personality, like it was two different people. I'd rather it wasn't. I'm happy to be me.
There are a couple of reasons. First, and most importantly, Steven Baxter is the name my parents gave to me and the name I've lived with all my life. It's important because that's how the people I love and care about know me best. I am proud of where I came from and the family I have. And secondly, as a writer or someone who dreams of being a writer, you do dream of your name being put to something; you do hope that you'll be able to tie your words to yourself. It's a bit daunting, if a lot of people read them, but the excitement is there too.
So this is me. This is who I am. The flawed, irritating, irascible, depressive, difficult, tetchy person who writes these things is called Steven, not Anton; if you didn't know that already, well, here it is. I take ownership of all the things Anton Vowl ever wrote, all the mistakes he made, all the things he did wrong - and sometimes did well, too. It's time to do that, to write without fear, to just be myself.
Which isn't to say that pseudonyms are necessarily wrong, or a bad thing, because they can be very useful for writers, and I can completely understand why a lot of bloggers do it. I'm not better than anyone else simply because I'm using my own name. It's just something that I did because it's important to me to do it - that's all.
So, hello, anyway, if you didn't know already. We'll be fine.
* I was at a Flight of the Conchords gig last year, and someone in the audience shouted out "Where's Murray?", to which the reply came "He's off with the other fictional characters tonight, having a brontosaurus steak with Fred Flintstone."