I’ve been writing on this blog for most of 3 years. I started out afraid of what my peers would think of me, of my statements. That was why I chose to use a pen name. I’ve grown past that but still can’t shake the pen name. By now most of you know who I am and where I work, and that’s fine. Now in this stage of my career and public writing I’m not ashamed of what I say and I’m not afraid of the comments that I might generate. Although I have written some pretty poor articles in the past, that is all part of the process.
Now I hide behind a pen name for another reason. I want my articles to start a dialogue. I don’t want you to say Oh he’s from ______(Insert locality here) they do it differently or he has only been on the job for ___ number of years. I know I may sound like a hippie, maybe a psychiatrist, or maybe an abusive father at times but it’s true. I want you, the reader, to say “hey, I think that’s B.S.” and call me out. I want you to force me to defend my position. I don’t want you to let me stand on my soapbox and preach my version of the truth to you. Tell me, and all the other readers how YOU do it. I won’t get offended.
Here is a great example from 2010:
Nate Q’s department does it differently than us. After some back and forth we discover the hazard is quite different in 2 different parts of the country, It’s the same job done right 2 different ways, and that’s a good thing. I learned, he learned and everybody that read the interaction got some insight.
I would like to see some of the people that contact me off line to just go ahead and comment. Use a pen name if you have reservations. As long as you keep it civil we can move our industry to a safer, better educated place. Don’t let me or any other fire service author get by with unchecked ramblings.
I’ll leave you with a rule from a creative writing class I took (and barely passed);
Always be skeptical and read between the lines. If the author is defending one part of a statement and not another, ask yourself (and in this case ask the author) WHY.