wargaluk is not my real name (but, come to think of it, there is nothing particularly real about my “real name” either). It’s also not my nickname – no one in my life calls me this (though you’re welcome to do so!).

I started using it only recently, when, against my reclusive tendencies, I decided to establish a small online presence and needed a username to register several accounts.

There are no exciting reasons for my not using my full name. I have no secret identity that I have to keep hidden at all costs; I barely have any identity to speak of. While I value the abstract ideas of privacy and anonymity on the web, I don’t believe anything particularly dramatic would happen if I were ever “exposed”.

There is an air of separate or alternative self attached to the use of a pseudonym, similar to donning a mask. Am I pretending to be someone else when I’m appearing as wargaluk? Or am I even more myself, since it enables me to be more authentic? It’s difficult to say due to lack of point of reference; I don’t do enough under my real name to notice any difference.

Upon reflection, I concluded that my main reason for using a pseudonym is that I have become dissatisfied with and ashamed of myself to the point where I would hate to see my name attached to anything; I don’t want to think of myself as present anywhere. A pseudonym allows me to circumvent this.

wargaluk” also has the advantage of being pronounceable by speakers of other languages, unlike my full name.

“Wargaluk” was the real last name of a distant family member of mine, and I was fascinated by it from the moment I heard about it. To my ears, it sounds mysterious and vaguely threatening. It is suggestive of some kind of a beast or supernatural being from Slavic folklkore. There is an obvious similarity to Wurdulac, Vrykolakas, and The Family of the Vourdalak.