Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Man Plans; God Laughs

By Deborah Sharp

Whenever I start feeling a little too full of myself, the universe has a way of yanking me back to earth. Oh, I don't know, say you've sold a few books, gotten a couple of nice reviews, managed to snag an interview on the TODAY show (!) You'd be puffing up just a tiny bit with pride, no?

Well, yes. At least until reality wallops you in the face. Case in point: I was thrilled last month to be invited to BookMania in Stuart, Fla. Pretty prestigious event, lots of New York Times bestselling authors, famous memoirists, kick-ass suspense novelists. And me, the newbie.

My sister Charlene convinced me to climb out of my usual grays and browns and blacks and khakis, and really dress for the occasion. ''You're an author now! People expect you to have a little flair.''

So she loaned me a fancy red shawl and shiny red earrings. She added some oomph to my makeup. I have to say, I was looking pretty fine. There I was at the authors' cocktail reception, sipping my soda water. She coerced me into heels, too, which definitely don't mix with alcohol. I was certain I was exuding an authorly air, when this older man comes up to me.

"I loved your book,'' he says, big smile on his face.

Ah, this is what it's all about. This is how an author feels, I thought. I smiled warmly, ready to dazzle him with my literary bon mots. (Yes, I know I've written a redneck romp set in middle Florida, but I can fake it, oui?)

And then he takes both of my hands, clasps them, and stares deep into my eyes: "Hallie Ephron, I have waited so long to meet you!''


"Uhmmm,'' I say as nicely as I can, "I'm not Hallie Ephron. She's standing over there with that crowd of people around her. She's the other woman in a shawl.''

He hesitates a moment, looks from me to her and back again. "Oh,'' he finally says, not at all embarrassed. "Then do you think you could introduce me?''


So, the picture above is my sister and me at BookMania. Hallie Ephron, of the famous literary family, is not the woman on the left.

How about you? Who's the most famous person you've been mistaken for?


Jess Lourey said...

Great story, Deb! It comes a close second to a story Rita Lakin ( tells about how when she was younger, people all mistook her for Anne Bancroft. After a couple years of getting her head swelled by this, she runs into Mel Brooks at a party. He's married to Anne Bancroft at the time (she isn't at the party), and Rita works up the nerve to approach Mr. Brooks and tell him that people always tell her she looks like his wife. He steps back, looks her up and down, and says, "Nah." And walks away.

And I realize this is a total non-sequitur, but for three weeks I've been trying to come up with the perfect roller derby name (I'm attending my first roller derby in St. Paul on the 28th), and this morning, I DID! "Killhurry Clinton." Whee! Striking fear in the hearts of men and women both.

G.M. Malliet said...

Vanessa Redgrave!

G.M. Malliet said...

p.s. Not as a roller derby name, Jess. As a sort-of lookalike.

Jess Lourey said...

I can see the Vanessa Redgrave similarity, Gin, and also think it serves as a great springboard for a roller derby name (double-good!). "Contessa Redgrave."

G.M. Malliet said...

Geez, Jess. I have a sinking feeling that might stick.

On another topic, I just saw that Joanna Slan is guesting over at Jungle Red Writers today. I learned something I never knew about her, and it has to do with dog ownership.

Keith Raffel said...

I was at the Frankfurt Airport and someone asked me if I was Steven Spielberg. I told him I was flying coach.

Cricket McRae said...

I was told I looked like Bonnie Franklin -- who is a very nice person, I have no doubt. But still, I just don't get it. When I was younger, it was Marsha Mason. Whatever happened to her?

Sue Ann Jaffarian said...

Rosanne Barr - but then all us short, fat girls look alike.

Once a man came up to me at a market and said, "I know you. You're that funny, fat woman I read about in the paper." When he struggled to remember my name, I smiled, held out my hand and said, "Camryn. Camryn Manheim. Nice to meet you." I think he bought it. (By the way, Camryn Manheim is about a foot taller than I am with very long hair, not to mention much younger.)

Hey, Deb, at least that guy didn't mistake you for Stephen King!

Deborah Sharp said...

Thanks for all the comments, guys. Funny look-alike stories, too. And, Jess ... I think I'm changing MY name to Killhurry Clinton. Love it!