It all started back in the winter of 2004, they say. The stories tell of a man going through a dark, depressive time (oh, what fragile creatures these artists be). He'd been involved with a collaborative world-building project, it seems, and he'd been finding it more and more difficult to maintain his enthusiasm and motivation for the thing (depression being the sort of beast that it is). It got to the point where he felt he just wanted to disappear.
Fortunately, this is the online frontier we're talking about, so a disappearance of sorts was actually pretty feasible. So our hero began systematically extricating himself from all manner of activities and projects on the wires. Scaling back on things seemed to be the only solution to his deep, debilitating funk, and so he set about cancelling accounts left, right, and center. He even went so far as to change his email address and his cell phone number, or so the old folks tell me.
In the midst of all this darkness of brain he was experiencing, he also starting in to thinking about how ego-based we all are, and how much of what we do is for recognition and praise. He wondered, just as a for-instance, what it might be like to do creative work anonymously, without expectation of reward or acclaim. This line of thought was no doubt brought on by the fact that he didn't much want people finding him at that particular moment.
Well, he latched onto that notion, so the story goes, and took a run with it. First thing he did was come up with an alias for himself, one that had nothing to do with his real identity, location, gender, age, or hair color. He knew he wanted to roll the word "ego" into it somehow or other—he was, after all, toying with the notion of going against the whole ego thing—but beyond that, he wasn’t quite sure what sort of moniker he was going to want.
So began a line of reasoning that led him to the phrase "alter ego", which made a lot of sense, because an alter ego was precisely what he was conjuring up for himself. With that thought, the road became suddenly and clearly illuminated. He was creating an alter ego that was really an anti-ego. It didn’t take too much longer for the word "falter" to appear in his head. The notion of stumbling was nigh on to perfect.
But, as with most noble endeavours, this one hit a snag. Our hero was using Yahoo for email at the time, and the handle "falterego" was already taken on that service. Fortunately, though, he didn’t have to go all the way back to square one. He just fiddled with it a bit and eventually changed the "e" in "falter" to an "a", resulting in "faltarego". The name was available, and the change in spelling magically added another level of meaning: Faltering at the altar of the ego.
And so a legend was born.
Since that time, the man called Faltarego has spread his presence to websites far and wide. The name has gone from being a simple alias to sort of taking on a life of its own.
That's what they tell me, anyway. It makes for a good yarn, and you know how those old folks love to spin a yarn.