Sunday 6 September 2009

Names and identities

Cross-posted from Niki Flynn's Not-Blog (with different pictures)

I’ve been musing on the difference between names and identities. For quite a long time now, I’ve been known as “Niki Flynn’s partner”, and people know me on the Web as HH. But people who actually meet me usually call me Cameron, and that’s the name Niki used for me in Dances with Werewolves. But Cameron and HH flow into one another: they’re basically the same person.

But now Niki has admitted that she is also Fiona Locke, who wrote Over the Knee and On the Bare. In that case, who is Peter Markworthy, who is Angie’s partner in Over the Knee? Am I Peter too?

Well, yes and no. Fiona has always described Over the Knee as semiautobiographical, and so it is. Not the personal details – they’re changed and fictionalised. And many of the scenes have been “improved”: they’re described as they might have been, liberally laced with hot ideas that came afterwards. But the core personalities are definitely the two of us, and lots of the “top dialogue” came from me.

We’ve always been role-players, and created characters for our role-plays. In role-play we become our characters, at least for the duration of a scene. The best role-plays are the ones where we get lost in our roles. And the best role-play characters come back, and form the basis of a series of scenes. Characters can develop, and it gets quite easy to slip into their skins. Peter is one of those.

But what does that mean, exactly? That there’s a lot of me in Peter, or that there’s a lot of Peter in me? Sometimes I’m not sure myself.

The Web site is a good example. Long before Over the Knee, Fiona and I liked to take outdoor spanking photos. Nothing too elaborate: just a camera perched on a convenient rock or tree and set to auto-timer. But when Fiona decided to use that part of “us” in OTK, we realised that some people might actually type the name into their browser. Wouldn’t it be fun if it actually existed? So we created a celebration of spanking al fresco.

By then, though, Niki had a Web presence, and people were starting to recognise her at parties. So I spent a very long time trawling through photos, trying to find ones that didn’t look identifiably like Niki. It seems I was remarkably successful. It was only a few weeks ago, when Niki decided to “come out” as Fiona, that she posted a few shots taken during the same road trip on her NotBlog, hoping that someone would spot the similarities. As MysteryMinx did.

But when you have a Web site, you get email. And it wasn’t long before I started getting email addressed to Peter at the EnglishVice site. When that happened, there wasn’t much choice but to reply as Peter. That was something I hadn’t foreseen: I had to be Peter.

Of course the cover of Over the Knee does show Fiona getting her bottom warmed and demonstrating Niki’s trademark kick. We always thought that was rather a giveaway, but as far as we know only one person has spotted it unprompted. A few years ago, at a Florida Moonshine party, a new friend came up to Niki and held out a copy of Over the Knee: “Would you sign this for me?”, he asked. Niki tried to look blank, but he wasn’t having it, so we took him away into a corner and explained our secret. A little later we asked him how he’d known: “Well, I don’t suppose many other people would spot it. But I’ve made something of a study of your bottom…”

Emma Jane spotted it too: she read Over the Knee and Dances with Werewolves side-by-side, and noticed similarities in the writing. And then she drew parallels between the silhouettes of me in some of the pictures on my FetLife profile and Peter’s on EnglishVice.

But it does seem that unrecognisability is one of Niki’s skills. Or perhaps it’s Fiona’s.


  1. To be blatantly honest, people reading Fiona's books might've been too turned on to realise similarities in writing and pictures with Dances with Werewolves.

    I suppose that unless you get lucky, the only way to get away with multiple identities is to either come clean, or wear disguises. You could also just make one (or two) of them "disappear" by claiming that they've moved away or some other lame excuse; however, that is difficult to do as the internet is so widely availible.

    On a technical noe, why is it that my spell checker, as well as other editing functions (cut, copy, paste, etc.) do not work on this comment box? It makes it rather tedious to try and quote parts of the post.

  2. I've always been attracted to the idea of having multiple characters to play. If nothing else, it seems as though it would save time in planning a scene, as the basic personalities are understood by both players. Unfortunately, any sort of role play is a rare pleasure for me, so I have no idea if I'd like it as much as I think I would. I can only hope that keeping up with all my own characters would be easier than keeping up with everyone else's!

  3. Indy, do you mean play where one scene between two people has more than 2 characters? Like...If the top plays both the teacher, principal, and father in the same scene? An example is when I was recently the naughty schoolgirl who got in trouble in class, then got sent to the principal's office, and then got in trouble for being bad at school at home...where there was only one top, and he played all three "top" parts...

  4. Hi HH/Cameron ... thought about you (in all your personas)at the recent SL event in Las Vegas. Glad to see you've joined the ranks of bloggers, and good luck with putting your thoughts out there for all to appreciate!

  5. Hi there,

    I came across your site and hope you dont mind me adding you to my blogroll - although its only a new blog really!

    As to persona's...yes well, I think it makes sense to be two people sometimes on the net. Especially when you are a spanking model and a writer...and want to ensure SOME peace...or not be limited to a particular style.

    Thanks for the blog xxx