Pen Name

In 1996 I started publishing online under the pen name Madeira Desouza. Then in 2007 I branched out into creating original 3D digital images for online publication also using that same pen name. But most people know me and refer to me by my nickname, Woody.

I’m a citizen of the United States, born in California. My heritage is Portuguese from both my parents Edward and Evelyn Goulart. The word madeira is Portuguese for wood. The surname Desouza is a variation of the surname Souza from my old country grandfather on my mother’s side.

Before I had reached the age of 30, I had earned both a master’s degree and doctoral degree in communications. I started out wanting to make a living as a college professor. But I discovered a stunning truth. That profession is not the best for job security due to toxic office politics in the academic field. Plus, a person is not paid very well when just starting out in this profession, so I got out of this line of work as quickly I could.

When I was a boy, I was taught to repress my emotions and sexual feelings. This came from having attending Roman Catholic school taught by nuns and priests from grade one through twelve. I am pleased to report that I eventually broke free from those repressive teachings which I wholeheartedly believe stunted my development during my youth.

I developed an irrational fear that I would turn out to be merely an ordinary man. I felt I was sufficiently talented to be a writer. That’s why I attended journalism school where I grew to admire writers who distinguished themselves through their professional works. But, I also must confess that I developed a very strong attraction to the well-known practice of writers who use a pseudonym. I discovered in those days that Mark Twain was the pen name of Samuel Langhorne Clemens. Filtered through the perceptions of a teenage boy, that was the coolest thing I had ever come to know about the writing profession.

No surprise that Mark Twain has remained my favorite American writer of all time. Not that I think I am as good as he was or ever will be. But, I seek to be humorous like him, to tell vivid and imaginative stories like he told, and, yes, to have a memorable nom de plume like his. I created a pseudonym for myself that would sound considerably more Old World ethnic compared to my own birth name while being a name that everyone should recognize no ordinary person would ever have.

It does not really matter whether someone with a pseudonym is prominent and globally identifiable like Mark Twain or Stephen King or J.K. Rowling or Jay Z. The simple reality is that having a pseudonym is a timeworn way of differentiating yourself from everyone else.

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