Saturday, April 06, 2013

Everyone needs an alter ego....

...... a Nom de Plum.... another personality...... or three!!

I was just reading about Archy and Mehitabel, created by Don Marquis, who was at one time the editor of the New York Evening Sun. In 1916, to help with the task of writing a daily column, Marquis created several charcters - Archy, a cockroach, Mehitabel an alley cat and a few others. They were his alter egos. He could now write humorous, social commentary, through them and be one step removed.

I have always been fascinated by a writer's persona. Writing as someone else can be liberating. It can also be your downfall. I remember my mother once saying that she was going to write a novel as a 9 year-old-boy. I said, "That's ridiculous. You've never been a 9-year-old-boy." I always regretted saying that. He may have been her alter ego.

I love Archy. He writes at night by jumping on the keys of a typewriter in the newspaper's office, leaving his missives for the editor to read in the morning. As the story goes, Archy is the reincarnation of a poet, who wrote free verse. Archy's poems, in turn, are fascinating. His friend, an alley cat named, Mehitabel, is the reincarnation of Cleopatra, which makes her a very interesting character.

We actually have many alter egos here - personalities within personalities. Don Marquis must have really wanted to escape!! I know that we all love to get away. Many of us disappear into imaginary worlds through books, movies, music or Art. Here's an example.

I am for the most part, Carol Tomany. However, I design lace, as Anne Corcoran (my middle name and maiden name). Anne is one of my alter egos. She is a dis-embodied designer who lives in a creative world surrounded by nature and translates what she sees into knitted lace. Carol Tomany lives in the real world of pressures - time, money, work etc. I try to join Anne, when I can. It's nice to stay connected and have a chat :)

One tired orchid!

Here is Archy's introduction. There are no capitals because that would require using two keys at once on the type writer. I'm not sure why there is no punctuation, however, I do know that a lot of poets hate rules and grammar is a series of rules - my explanation anyway.

the coming of archy

expression is the need of my soul
i was once a vers libre bard
but i died and my soul went into the body of a cockroach
it has given me a new outlook upon life
i see things from the under side now
thank you for the apple peelings in the wastepaper basket
but your paste is getting so stale i cant eat it
there is a cat here called mehitabel i wish you would have
removed she nearly ate me the other night why dont she
catch rats that is what she is supposed to be fore
there is a rat here she should get without delay
most of these rats here are just rats
but this rat is like me he has a human soul in him
he used to be a poet himself
night after night i have written poetry for you
on your typewriter
and this big brute of a rat who used to be a poet
comes out of his hole when it is done
and reads it and sniffs at it
he is jealous of my poetry
he used to make fun of it when we were both human
he was a punk poet himself
and after he has read it he sneers
and then he eats it

wish you would have mehitabel kill that rat
or get a cat that is onto her job
and i will write you a series of poems showing how things look
to a cockroach
that rats name is freddy
the next time freddy dies i hope he wont be a rat
but something smaller i hope i will be a rat
in the next transmigration and freddy a cockroach
i will teach him to sneer at my poetry then
dont you ever eat any sandwiches in your office
i haven’t had a crumb of bread for i dont know how long
or a piece of ham or anything but apple parings
and paste and leave a piece of paper in your machine
every night you can call me archy

My alter ego is really not a transmigrated soul, she is more the other half of me. However, I think that in one of my other lives I was a green cymbidium orchid. I'm not sure why. I think that I would rather have been Cleopatra or Sarah Bernhardt or some other fascinating creature!!!

Who is your alter ego?

Have a wonderful day!!


  1. What a fabulous blog, I love it, muchly. My alta ego would have to be my other half ( I am a Gemini) One side is quite sensible and the other quite mischevious - Shhhhh don't tell anyone !

  2. Loved this post! Time to share your lace creations with us Anne:)