I’ve been asked about this before. I really can’t nail down the exact moment that this handle became an internet pseudonym of sorts. I can say that I remember stumbling across “hocus” during a rousing bout of reading Webster’s Dictionary, as I was wont to do as a young man. I was exciting to be around in that way.
Webster defined it thusly:
Definition of HOCUS
to perpetrate a trick or hoax on : deceive
to befuddle often with drugged liquor; also:dope
the favorite before the race
The word seemed steeped in mystery and danger. To deceive. To stupefy with drugs. Precisely the type of word one might cling to as a nominally maladjustment teenager, introverted and prone to self-pity. Yes, it was a perfectly apt word. This was quite possibly a decade before I ever deigned to use the internet. A child of the written word with a penchant for technophobia, it was many years before this word would find its way into a box marked “Username”, yet it clung in my mind like the spidery legs of potent liquor to the sides of a glass.
Grey. This one is less arcane and esoteric. I originally gave the credit to a line in a piece which read;
“If white is right, I’ll be black and all shades of grey. Contrary to your belief is where you’ll find me.”
Overtly, I was speaking to a racial dialogue, I’m sure. A staunch position taken against racism and white supremacy. I think though, that the idea of “Grey” as a name has become less about a bold stance and more about going unnoticed. A blending into the background. The Grey Man.
Taken together, it makes for a name as good as any, I suppose. Not that I seek to shroud myself in some cloak of digital wizardry, we’re beyond that these days. I just feel that any good writer needs a pen name and any good vessel a name as well, so Hokus Grey it shall be.
Until next time.