Back in 1999, when I started writing a blog, or what I then called “a website”, I wasn’t ready yet for the downsides of what I love to call “the fame-game”: The stalkers, the screaming fans waiting outside my house, the late-night phone-calls (forcing me to switch to a secret number, which within a few hours would have been found out by one of the stalkers/fans), the death threats, the paparazzi and of course the absurd number of multi-nationals trying to make me sign multi-million ad contracts, which would destroy all my street-cred and expose me as being the two-faced bigot that I am. Or would have been.
In order to avoid above mentioned downfall, I decided to not use my real name. Instead I looked around my bedroom and my gaze fell on the book I was currently reading: “Hitler – A Biography”. So I let my gaze wander just a bit more, and it fell on that one book that decided it all: “Solaris” by Stanislaw Lem. I had tremendously enjoyed that book, which was also reflected in the original name of my website: “Suns of Solaris” (I had of course never heard of copyright infringement and threatening letters from firms named something like “Kurtz, Weilschmidt and Partners” before, and if I remember correctly, back then it wasn’t that bad yet).
The name I chose for myself was that of Gibarian, a mysterious figure which, unlike in the movie by Soderbergh, never appears as a living person throughout the book. I liked the cleverness of having him as a pseudonym, and constantly congratulated myself on this decision, quite probably for no less than three weeks.
It was good name on the Internet, because there were barely any other people named Gibarian signing up for stuff. It was my unique identifier, a handle.
But lately I’ve been questioning the use of my handle more and more. See, I’m quite a bit older now, I’ve got some experience with multi-nationals and their marketing budgets, and I think I could handle the onslaught of fans, stalkers and marketing hacks. So, I’ve decided to retire Gibarian. I’ve been hogging the name for too long now. I’ll give it back to the book and its various adaptations, and maybe in a year or two, the Google index will be cleansed from Gibarians referring to me, and desperate film-majors will finally find stuff on Tarkovsky’s Solaris within the first ten hits.
From now on, everybody please call me Richard.
PS: I’ll be using that name in email correspondences too. So in case you’ve got a nervous trigger-finger when it comes to spam, please look twice.