Thursday, October 29, 2009

Notarize My Book?

By Sue Ann Jaffarian

By day I work as a paralegal in a law firm in Los Angeles. Mornings, evenings, and weekends I don my author cape and crank out mysteries. But lately, my two careers have started overlapping. Perhaps this post should really be called “When Worlds Collide.”

It’s wonderful in a weird sort of way. Like the time I called the California Secretary of State’s corporate division and identified myself as Sue Ann Jaffarian, paralegal with XYZ. The woman on the other end paused, then said: “Did you know there’s a writer by that name? Are you related?” When I told her I was both the paralegal and the writer, she told me how a friend had turned her on to my books.

Then there was the time our attorney service, the company that files our corporate documents all over the nation, called me and said when one of them ordered a book from Amazon, one of my books popped up as a recommended purchase. “Is that you?” they asked.

Or the day I called another paralegal at another firm to discuss some documents. I identified myself as I usually do and was met with the usual pause, followed by a skeptical, “You are not.” Yeah, I am. My identity confirmed, the next question was, “Why are you still working?” Um, because I’m addicted to food and shelter?

Please know that situations like these don’t happen every day, but they do happen often enough to warm the cockles of my heart and inform me that people are, indeed, reading my books. At least people involved with the California paralegal community.

I am also a California commissioned Notary, and I must have mentioned that fact somewhere in my travels because recently I received an e-mail asking me to perform a notarization. Since I don’t offer notary services to the general public, the request stymied me. The woman turned out to be an avid reader of my books and really did need a notary. Remembering I was one, she thought it would be cool to have me perform the service and have my signature* on her document, complete with my official seal. I politely declined, informing her that I only provided notary services in the course of my job with the law firm. She was disappointed, but understood.

To me, it was way cooler to be asked, than for her to have me perform the service. Trust me – WAY COOLER. It's something I'll never forget.

When have your worlds collided? Is it a good or a not so good thing?

*By the way, my signature is not the same as my autograph. Just thought I'd clear that up.
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Chatty said...

love it! very clever of her, too. The attorney I used to work for always hoped I'd become a notary. I never did...but then, I wasn't a paralegal, either, where it might have been useful ; )

Lisa Bork said...

That's so cool, Sue Ann. I haven't had any similar experiences yet, but hopefully it's something to look forward to.

Alan Orloff said...

It must be pretty neat to have strangers recognize you from your writing. When do the papparazzi start hanging around? You Hollywood types better watch out!

G.M. Malliet said...

Hasn't happened yet.

I love the image of you donning your writer's cape. I want one.

Sue Ann Jaffarian said...

It will happen to you, too. But this is one of the perks of having a day job. Because of it, I am invited to speak at a lot of legal oriented events and conferences here in the west. It gets the word out faster.

Once, a woman standing with me in a line at a legal conference I was attending and not speaking at starting pitching my own books to me! She was raving about how much I'd love them because I was a plus size paralegal of a certain age. I let her ramble on, hiding my name tag and enjoying every minute, assuring her I would look the books up.

Alan Orloff said...

THAT is too funny, Sue Ann. Did you finally fess up or just go on your merry way?

Jessica Lourey said...

My worlds have never collided and I've never been recognized, and I'm also not 100% that I have cockles to warm. What do they look like? Do they taste like chicken?

Cheers, Sue Ann! Keep up the good work.

Keith Raffel said...

I'm with Jess. I want to know just where the cockles are.

Sue Ann Jaffarian said...

"To warm the cockles of someone's heart -

1.(idiomatic) To provide happiness, to bring a deeply-felt contentment, possibly derived from the similarity in appearance of the heart valves to the cockle, a bivalve mollusk of the family Cardiidae."

If the above is correct, I guess if you have heart valves, you have cockles. And if you don't have heart valves, you are in deep do do.

Beth Groundwater said...

I loved the "Why are you still working?" line! If only... ;-)

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