Sarah Toa and her alter ego - that woman who was birthed as Sarah D - are set on a course to collide sometime very soon. My book is coming out this year and I'm building a website under my real name to sell it and to publish the photographs I have taken of the fisher men and women whom I've been writing about for five years or so.
Most of these guys would prefer to remain anonymous. They are quiet people who work the inlets every day. Having their images posted on the internet may bother them. (I'll ask them first, mind.) They are capable of accessing the weather reports and getting the latest market prices but they are still old-school when it comes to their privacy. Fisher folk and gold prospectors will never change like that.
Anyway, what I'm really on about is how to move from this winedark sea telling ripping yarns, to a public persona who has to flog her book. When we were driving from Albany to Denmark yesterday, my friend said, 'whenever I am faced with two choices like yours, I choose both.' I really like this. Choose both.
This blog has been a space for me to bare my throat, to expose my belly. Originally my pseudonym was created to protect me from litigation but everyone in this small town knows who I am anyway. sarah toa freed me up to go Beloved on the arse of people and corporations that gave me the shits, whilst dressed in an attractive princess warrior suit and raising a middle finger to the world.
(Beloved? Read Toni Morrison and weep.)
Writing as sarah toa also taught me to write as a human being, to admit my frailties ... it is a great leveller that pseudonym. But what happens when my first book comes out and the reviews begin? I know the reviewers will google my name and find the stories about love affairs and parties and my cranky outbursts about dredging our harbour and photographs of my grand daughter and legendary screw ups.
I'll get over this (It's like turning forty - you freak for the month beforehand and get up on your birthday and life is still quite okay ... ) but right now on the eve of publication, it is a conundrum. I'm not giving up sarah toa because I like her/me. A WineDark Sea and her followers have nurtured me for years. I don't want to censor myself but I have to learn how to protect this sarah toa child.
I choose both.