Tuesday, 5 April 2011

The Origins of David L Rattigan

I adopted the pen name David L Rattigan in 2003, when I was a young gay man desperate to escape the closet but too afraid to own what were, to me, the three hardest words in the world: I am gay.

"Rattigan" comes from Terence Rattigan (1911-1977), the gay British playwright. His works -- which fell out of fashion in the late 1950s but seem now to be the subject of renewed appreciation --often featured vulnerable, shame-filled characters trying to repress their supposed sexual failings; characters like the tragic classics teacher Andrew Crocker-Harris in The Browning Version and the haunted Major Pollock in Separate Tables. It was never difficult for me to look at these creations and recognize their gayness.

I was blogging almost daily back then, but I never revealed to my readers why I had chosen the name Rattigan. The choice was a faint cry for someone to recognize me and affirm me. I hoped, not entirely consciously, someone would make the connection and do for me what I was struggling so fiercely to do for myself.

Then there's the "L." Do you know what it stands for? Neither do I. I have some ideas, but I've never been certain. I like to imagine David L Rattigan as my alter ego, a part of me I still don't completely know myself. I've a feeling the "L" will always be mysterious to me.

1 comment:

  1. Well....I like the David L. Rattigan...a good writer who allows his words to speak about so many things :)

    And I'm thinking the "L" could be "Learner"... maybe?