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Control Freak Author Meets Stunt Double
By Gloria Diaz
Check out Gloria's Blog — Edge of Gloria!
Fort Wayne Reader
One of my many flaws is that I am a control freak. I also have trust issues, so mix them together, and you get someone who is neurotic and also convinced that if she tells someone to do something, it won't get done right. It's a bit disturbing when two doctors have asked if I have any abdominal pain (due to yet another health catastrophe in my life) and I say, “no” yet it gets written on my chart that I have abdominal pain. I was on a gurney, waiting for a procedure, when I heard a prep nurse on the other side of the curtain recite my health history to someone else. She told whomever she was talking to that I had thrown up that morning. “It was last night,” I called out, “not this morning.”
Immediately, her voice lowered and I wondered what other erroneous information she was dispatching. Thankfully, before they put me under, they told me what they were planning to do to me (upper endoscopy/colonoscopy/partial cashectomy) before I said yes, that was correct. Then they put a piece of plastic in my mouth and that was the last thing I remembered before waking up after the procedure and vomiting for what seemed like forever. (I don't do well with anesthesia.)
Anyway, it bothers me when people try to take control of things in my life. If you don't already know, I'm a self-published author trying to promote my books. It's not an easy thing to do when you are destitute, so I've been spamming YouTube pages with blurbs about my work (it's actually working, but I've been asked not to do that.) So I look for low-cost ways to get the word out. Someone offered to assist me with my promotion and I agreed. The idea was to put two people looking for promotion together and have the arrangement benefit both. It seemed like a good idea at first, but there were problems.
I don't have the best work schedule in the world. I did sign up for it, but it means that doing anything on the weekends is out, unless my schedule coincides, or if I ask for time off in advance and it's granted. In this particular case, neither of these scenarios were an option. The person coordinating all this decided to have a book signing at a show, and went ahead and set it up knowing full well that I'd have a challenge getting time off for it.
I was definitely freaked that everything had been arranged ahead of time. I don't like promising things to people without knowing if I can do them or not. I was told not to worry if I couldn't get time off that particular day. I was told not being there would add a certain panache to my rep if I, the author, couldn't be at the book signing because I was too busy doing whatever, like picking out a polo pony, getting my nails done or lunching with Sue Grafton. Maybe some authors do that, but when yours truly is not working, she spends her time sitting on the couch looking through Writers Market 2013 to look for publishers that will accept stuff from unagented writers (i.e. me.)
So I had a nonchalant attitude towards the whole thing. I was glad of the exposure, but I had had a bad feeling about this from the start. It was falling together too easily. And it turns out I was right. The person trying to help me said it was okay that I couldn't be there for the book signing because they found someone with my build, dark hair, and glasses, and she would be the one signing my books at the book signing.
This is when World War III erupted. Twice. I had to leave to go to work, but after my shift was over, I came back. By that time, nearly everyone had scattered to hide as I yelled that I was the one who wrote the damn book, who had edited and proofread it; I shot the pictures for the covers, and I absolutely wasn't going to have anyone else sign the f*****g book. I argued that you wouldn't say Brad Pitt was going to be at Glenbrook Square, then show up with a lookalike. The person I was yelling at looked right at me and said, “Honey, you are NOT Brad Pitt.” Well, duh! The point I was trying to make is that I didn't care if it was Stephen King or some nobody writer (like myself), it was absolutely WRONG to have a stunt double sign books. Everyone I've told this story to had to pick up their jaws from the floor. A few of my teaching colleagues said having a stunt double sign my books amounted to plagiarism.
Before storming off in a huff, I signed all fifteen of my books to insure that at least the signature was legit. (The store owned the books. I attempted to buy the books back at cost, but they weren't having it.)
I was able to get a bit of time off to attend the show, where I was on my best behavior and appropriately dressed, but it was awkward as hell. I did meet my “stunt double,” who had short dark hair and a tattoo above her left breast (which is SO me.) She told me they had almost sold one of my books the day before, but since the booth wasn't equipped to take credit cards, they couldn't make the sale. In a day and age and society where everyone pays by card, I thought this was a huge oversight, but what does an ungrateful, egotistical, selfish bitch like me know?
One of my co-workers was amazed by the story, but also said the people involved must think my work is killer, if they were willing to have a stunt double sign books for me. Maybe so, but if I ever go to a book signing by some unknown author, I may just ask the author for some identification. After all, there are enough fake boobs in the world as it is.