I really don’t need a pen name. Rarely do I write something I don’t want linked to me. But, I’m greedy and want it all so I’m going to create a literary double anyway.
The first part of my pen name, Elle, has two origins.
Back in the 90s, the enterprise My Twinn sprung up offering little girls plastic versions of themselves, or as the company name suggests, a twin. Parents sent in photos of their children to be replicated in doll form. It’s completely narcissistic and weird in retrospect. The year the company debuted, I got one for Christmas.
I named my look alike Elle. I lugged her everywhere, her long stringy curls clenched between the fingers of my tiny fist as she schlepped behind me.
Elle didn’t last long. I was a malicious child (think Sid from Toy Story) and she was my target. I defiled her face with Crayola Crayons and cut off her long brown tresses because “she has cancer.” Or so I told my horrified parents.
I have no idea what happened to Elle. My mom most likely took her away and she’s probably moldering somewhere in the attic.
Now that I’m emotionally developed adult and I’ve learned to restrain my sociopathic inclinations, I feel a little guilty about what happened to Elle. That’s why I’m immortalizing her in my pen name.
‘Elle’ is also partly inspired by my favorite cinematic character, Elwood P. Dowd, from the 1950 film Harvey. Elwood is the delusional protagonist whose indifference to everything except whiskey and an imaginary six-foot rabbit moved me.
Obviously, I couldn’t have my name be Elwood unless I wanted to be textually transgendered. So, I shortened ‘Elwood’ to ‘Elle.’
As for my surname, Prose, I just melded it with Elle and thought, “Damn, that sounds good.”
Thus, Elle Prose was born.