I’ve decided if I ever become a famous novelist, I’m going to publish under the pseudonym Cjefrydź Pol Czedźman. My initials will be Cj.P.Cz.
This is how I derive the name:
Jeffrey Paul Hayman
Taking the sounds of “Jeffrey Paul Hayman,” I write it in Polish orthography, preserving the same sounds.
Dziefryj Pol Chejman (the English “J” turns into Polish “Dzi,” the English “ey” turns into “yj,” and “h” turns into “ch” )
Then I pronounce the Polish letters using English pronunciation rules, sounding roughly like:
“Dzyefridge Pol Chedzhman”
Then I take those sounds, and again write it using Polish orthography.
Cjefrydź Pol Czedźman. Or Cjef, for short. Cj.P. Czedźman.
If anyone asks how to pronounce it, I will tell them: “Jeffrey Paul Hayman”
Now why would I do this? Two reasons:
I believe a unique name is essential to making a place for one’s self in history. When people Google search my name, I want myself to be the only result. This might sound arrogant, but let me explain: as a writer, my goal would be to influence readers. Without readers, my work would be meaningless and my efforts for naught. Thus, I would have a unique name to market myself as a unique writer so people would read my material and my life would have meaning. In a world in which greatness is all but dead, heroes are hard to come by, and important historical figures fade into our cognitive oblivion in one mesh of “famous people.” A name that stands alone is the least I could do to help my posthumous destiny.
After all, who was that guy who started a slave rebellion and sparked “Bleeding Kansas” that contributed to the start of the American Civil War? John Smith? No. Jim Brown? Wait… (yes, Sarah, I know it’s John Brown) The point is a unique name would help its possessor maintain independent space in the brains of those exposed to it.
The second reason is this: Something very interesting has happened in the last couple centuries, and especially in the last decade with the widespread use of the internet. Written word has come to dominate spoken word as the preferred method of communicating ideas. This is odd because written word itself was developed to symbolize the spoken word (which itself was developed to symbolize reality). In a sense, when we live in a world of the written word, we are living in a virtual reality that was created to resemble another virtual reality that was created to resemble reality. When you hear the sounds that make up “Chair,” you think of the object in which you sit, even though you can’t sit on the sounds. When you read the letters that spell out “Chair,” you also think of the same object, even though you can’t sit on the letters.
But if LOLcats are any indication, written language is developing a life outside of what it’s intended to symbolize. Let’s take two names: Christina and Kristina. Both are spoken the same, but are symbolized differently orthographically. Are they different names? If you’re illiterate, no. If you’re literate, but understand letters to be symbols for sound, then also no. But when we accept letters as a sovereign object, independent from the sounds they create, they become different names, sorted differently in the alphabet, and forcing themselves into two different identities. Surely Kristina would get pissed if someone spelled her name “Christina.”
So would a rose by any other name actually smell just as sweet? Or would the name itself influence our perception of that which is symbolized? Say I invented another word for “Rose.” Say I grow roses in my backyard, but I insist on calling them “byzyxxes.” Would my guests approach them differently than they would a rose? Would they find them more fascinating? Would they insist on there being a difference between my byzyxx and the standard rose?
When we start valuing words, both written and spoken, by the aesthetics of how they look or sound, they take on a life and characteristic of their own. “Illinois” looks boring and usual, whereas “Yllynoy” looks exotic and fascinating. But they would be pronounced the same. Much as Cjefrydź, although pronounced the same as Jeffrey, would strike a chord of curiosity on its onlookers. I, myself, really want to visit the Mojave Desert settlement of Zzyzx for no other reason than the aesthetics of its name. It occupies a different place in my brain than it would had it been named “Smithston.” Then it would just be another boring desert town. Like those other boring historical heroes throughout history.
So by calling myself by my actual birth name, but by spelling it differently, I would be intending on highlighting the life orthography has given to itself over time, and the unique way in which the symbols we’ve developed to illustrate reality are themselves a reality. I would be poking fun at those who insist that that things be spelled correctly, that LOLcats are an abomination unto language, and that Worcestershire Sauce is pronounced “Worcestershire Sauce” because that’s how it’s spelled.
I would want people would argue about how to pronounce my name. “No! It’s a C!” “So? The C is silent.” No, the C isn’t silent. The C is a joke. On you and on us. Language is a joke on us. It is the Robot Rebellion that has forced humanity into servitude. It is the Matrix through which we live.
Of course I would also include my degree suffix on my official letterhead, much as doctors do. It would read: Cj.P. Czedźman, Pm.D.
Cjefrydź Pol Czedźman, Postmodernist Dick